Author Archives: Duggan Kevin

ETV short video of Mepkin Abbey

An interview with Abbot Stan by ETV describes Mepkin Abbey and the Community.  Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist Monastery located on the Cooper River in Berkeley County, is a community of Roman Catholic monks which was established in 1949. The monks at Mepkin Abbey have always devoted their lives to prayer, spiritual study, work and hospitality.

ETV video of interview

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15 th Sunday of Ordinary time Year (B)

Amos 7: 12-15; Resp Ps 85; Eph 1: 3-10; Gospel Mark 6: 7-13 

Brothers and Sisters, God has a plan:  to sum up all things in Christ in Heaven and on earth.  The incredible reality is that we are part of the plan of God and have been graced and called to be partners in that plan.



We hear of the powerful grace given to us in the Ephesians reading.

- WE have been given spiritual blessings.

- Destined to be holy, to be adopted Children of God in Christ Jesus.

-WE have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, forgiven of sins.

-God had given us the understanding of His law.

-We have been given the Holy Spirit so we can fulfill our call to give glory to God.

The challenge of course, is that we are like Amos, we are unlikely candidates to share in the plan.  But none the less we are called to do so by our sharing in the redemption and by our faith in Christ we are called to continue his work.  There is a certain way to do it. As the gospel details for the twelve:  We do it with detachment and freedom, with a  simple openness to all God had to offer us, not bogged down with the stuff of the world, not with all kinds of needs and expectations, but a simplicity that keeps our hearts free to prose God, point to Christ and see the opportunities given  to proclaim Christ by our acts of  love that are a proclamation of God’s salvation.  The prophet Amos is indeed our role model today.  He was unwilling to back down, unable to remain silent when the truth demanded to be proclaimed.  Amos is offered to us to mentor us towards similar strengths and commitment.  We can do the same with God’s grace.

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Beautiful and Profitable Idea

From the Economist comes the following:

ACCORDING to the ancient rule laid down by St Benedict in the sixth century, monastic communities must be self-supporting. Usually, the sale of goods produced by monasteries—cheese, eggs, mushrooms and, in Europe at least, liqueurs—brings in sufficient income to support the holy men. But what happens in an economic downturn? In that event, how about opening a columbarium?

See the full article.


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Dedication of the Columbarium

In the early evening of Sunday, June 17, the monks, with friends and benefactors, dedicated the Columbarium at Mepkin Abbey. Almost 200 people attended the event, including many who have purchased niches.

Fr. Guerric Heckel presided at the dedication ceremony which included music by a brass ensemble, and remarks by Susan Conant, lead designer for the project; Thomas Campbell whose wife is inurned in the Columbarium; and Abbot Stan.  The ceremony concluded with the brass ensemble leading the congregation down the Columbarium path while playing “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

After the dedication, Jim Rozier, Columbarium manager, said that almost all of the niches in Phase 1 have been sold and plans are being made to begin the second phase.

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Welcome remarks at Blessing of the Site of the Retreat Center

St. Francis Retreat Center


Remarks and blessing by Abbot Stanislaus Gumula

Today is a day so longed for.  It means that a dream that was conceived many years ago is finally about to see the light of day.  Many were the conversations that Father Francis Kline, Mepkin’s third abbot, and I had about this dream.

He once told me over the phone as he lay in his bed at Sloan Kettering that he had come up with the design of the rooms he would like to see at the new Retreat Center.   On another occasion we agreed on the architect we would ask to put this dream on paper.

And just over a month before his death in August, 2006, we were talking about it and he said he just didn’t have the energy to do the fund raising that would be required for such an undertaking.  Looking him straight in the eye, I told him: “Don’t take this wrongly, Francis, but your death will bring us the funds for this project.”  And looking me back straight in the eye, he responded, “I know.  But as long as I am alive, I have to worry about this.”

He need not worry any longer.  The outpouring from his friends assures us that this project will indeed be finished.  We are here today to begin the final phase.

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Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

What we celebrate liturgically on this feast of the Most Holy Trinity is the interrelatedness of God the Creator, the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit. Our second reading today (Romans 8:14-17) gives one indication of how the Three-in-One work together. Paul speaks of God as Abba Father. The role of the first person of the Trinity is a divine parent. All who believe are sons and daughters of God. How so? The Spirit lives in us and testifies with and thru us that we belong to God’s family. Having been made children of God by the working of the Spirit, we become siblings to Christ and fellow heirs of all that Christ has. What we inherit is both a share in his glory and his suffering.

But how does this relate to the everyday concerns that face us. The main thrust of this second reading is not so much to explicate the theology of the Trinity but to draw us into the family of God. The focus of today’s reading is the role of the Spirit drawing believers into God’s family.

Everyone senses a need to belong. Community is about the experience of belonging. It is about the feeling of coming home or being at home as opposed to thinking that wherever I am I would be better off somewhere else. We are in community each time we find a place where we belong. To belong is to be related to and a part of something greater than oneself. It also has to do with being an owner. To belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community.

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