Only a few days before the Church celebrates the summer feast of St. Benedict on July 11, we write to share good news so that you can toast with a bit of Birra Nursia (http://birranursia.com/purchase) on that special day. Our Holy Patron was a great builder — of buildings and saints — and the news comes for us in these two forms as well: the spiritual and material.
Materially, we are pleased to share drawings for the construction of the new monastery in Monte, finally approved by the Italian historical society with construction to begin this September. The project will restore the former Capuchin monastery destroyed in the final earthquake to a fully functioning monastery with room for at least 30 monks.
In an area of Italy where the devastation of the earthquake brought an end to so much beautiful Church architecture, we are pleased to be able to take part in the rebuilding by bringing back to life a former monastery of the town.
Funds are still needed to complete the large building project, which will be constructed on a foundation of earthquake-resistant isolators. We have enough to begin the foundations but we need 1 million dollars to raise the walls. Can you help (http://en.nursia.org/donations)?
The construction project means moving away from the phase of emergency building and into the phase of building our new permanent home. As a symbol of this step, we also share spiritual good news. A few weeks ago our monastery was elevated by the Holy See to the status of an Independent Priory, sui iuris, within the Benedictine Order. This blessing from God took place 19 years to the day from the initial canonical approval and 20 years after Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B. courageously founded the monastery in a little apartment on the Aventine Hill in Rome in 1998.
This important milestone for us could not have happened without the prayers and support of so many of you over the years, but in particular we thank the three Abbot Primates who have guided our initial history, Abbot Marcel Rooney, O.S.B. who presided over the birth and founding, Abbot Notker Wolf, O.S.B. who saw that our little fledging group would be given a roof and path to stability, and now the present primate, Abbot Gregory Polan, O.S.B. whose faith-filled charity brought us to this final moment of canonical stability. In a special way, too, we thank Archabbot Lambert Reilly, O.S.B. of St. Meinrad for entrusting Fr. Cassian with this mission and a Benedictine Cardinal of the Church, Paul Augustine Mayer, O.S.B., no longer with us on earth but whose guidance and protection have brought us to this day.
With this new important canonical status, the Church entrusts to the monastery its own governance and so our constitutions called for an election of the first Conventual Prior.
Today, the reigning Abbot Primate, Gregory Polan, O.S.B, visited us and presided over the proceedings where Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B., was elected to lead the Priory.
Thanking God and asking for St. Benedict’s continued intercession on this hallowed ground of his birth home, we remain grateful to all of you.
The Monks of Norcia