The Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady provided not only the occasion to renew our devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, thanking her for the many ways she intercedes on our behalf, but also the occasion to call others to prayer with the blessing of a new bell. While a provisional wooden bell tower is still under construction, metal scaffolding allows us to hear just a few notes of what will one day become a chorus of bells from the mountain top. The recent donation of a brand new bell for the future tower, given by an Italian priest, brings back memories of pre-earthquake Norcia when 7 bell towers crowned the city, each with its own set of bells, calling all to give glory to God.
Prayer was at the heart of the the first annual Italian oblate retreat, led by Prior Emeritus Fr. Cassian Folsom in late August for 15 men and women at Casale degli Amici. Under Fr. Cassian’s faithful guidance over the years, Norcia’s oblate program has grown from a small handful in nearby towns to several hundred from all over the globe. Oblates try to follow the Rule of St. Benedict adapted to their own state of life and benefit from prayers and fraternity with a specific Benedictine community. A USA English-language oblate retreat began 3 years ago, but this was the first time we held one for our Italian oblates.
One of the most beautiful and ancient Marian antiphons, the Sub tuum prasidum, which can be heard on our CD, places us squarely under Our Lady’s shoulders, asking us to be delivered from periculis cunctis — from all dangers. It is a fitting antiphon to recall with the addition of two new roles in the monastery.
On August 10, the Feast of St. Lawrence, our Brother Gregory Ribeiro received minor orders and was ordained a subdeacon in his home parish in Campos, Brazil. The prayers of the monks were with him as he took this important step towards the sacred priesthood with his friends and family nearby.
A few days later I appointed Fr. Martin Bernhard, who recently made his solemn vows, subprior of the monastery, taking his place next to me as father and servant to the monks. He will play an important role in faithfully assisting the monks along the path to the holiness of the saints.
May Fr. Martin and Br. Gregory, each in their own unique way and with the intercession of Our Lady, help deliver us from periculis cunctis.
And may Our Lady bring us all to our heavenly home.
Prior Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.