Click here for homily given by Fr. Stan.
As we prayed First Vespers for the Solemnity of the Assumption (the patronal Feast of our Order), Brother Juan Fahrner professed simple vows as a Cistercian of the Strict Observance at Mepkin Abbey. Having completed one year as a postulant and two years as a novice, he expressed his commitment to live the vows of obedience, stability and conversatio morum before the abbot and the brothers. Having spoken his vows and signed the vow document, the abbot removed the white cloth belt and the white scapular signifying his status as a novice, and clothed him a black scapular and a leather belt indicating that he is living a commitment in vows. Over the black scapular and leather belt he continues to wear the white cloak he wore as a novice. When he has completed three years in simple vows he may request to profess solemn vows.
Joining us for the celebration were his sister, Sally Pacelli, and his brother, Bob Fahrner. They travelled from Illinois and were able to stay for several days to visit with Brother Juan and get to know a little of our life. You will see them in the phots accompanying this text, as well as several other guests who were present and the folks who were with us on retreat.
Our monastic life is grounded in the vows we make as Cistercians following the formula found in the Rule of Saint Benedict: obedience, stability (we don’t go off the monastery property unless we have a medical appointment or the abbot assigns us to some business), and conversatio morum (which is loosely translated ‘ongoing conversion’ – an umbrella term meaning we own nothing but have the use of what we need, we practice celibate chastity, as did Jesus, and we strive to be continuously mindful of God).
The abbot’s homily for this celebration may be found on the website. As a community we thank you for your prayers for Brother Juan, for each of us and for joining us in praying for vocations to come and share our life.