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Chris Davies, Observer

Chris Davies–observer

After having made several brief visits to allow himself to better know our life, Chris Davies resided with us for the month of August as an observer. Chris is a native of South Carolina and lives in Mount Pleasant. He works in the computer programming field and has been more and more drawn to the contemplative way. Transitioning for this time at Mepkin was a real shift in gears for Chris as only days before he began his month of observership he had just returned from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. The abbot, Father Stan, asked Chris to speak with the monastic community in chapter sharing some of the experience of being with Pope Francis and the many who had journeyed to Brazil for this event. For Chris, his involvement with the Young Adult Ministry of the Diocese of Charleston has proved enriching to the development of his spirituality and helped to deepen the yearning for a fuller relationship with Christ. During his time in discernment at the Drexel House under the auspices of the Vocation Office of the Diocese of Charleston, Chris’ appreciation grew for the liturgy of the hours and praying in community. Kindly remember Chris in your prayers as he continues to discern. And please pray for the other thirteen men who are in contact with us to explore a possible vocation to the contemplative monastic life.

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Happy 99th Birthday, Fr. Christian

The community gathered in the refectory on September 14 to celebrate Fr. Christian’s birthday.

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September 6, 2013 Letter to Elected Officials

Abbot Stan and the Brothers today sent a letter to elected officials pleading with them not to utilize military strikes in Syria. Below is a copy of that letter. In addition, to be in solidarity with Pope Francis’ call for a prayer vigil, on Saturday, Sept. 7, the Mepkin community will offer special prayers, including community prayer in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, for a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Syria and the Middle East.

The letter below was sent September 6, 2013:

President Barack Obama
Senator Lindsey Graham, R, SC
Senator Tim Scott, R, SC
Representative James Clyburn, D, SC
Representative Mark Sanford, R, SC

Dear President Obama and Distinguished Leaders of South Carolina:

Please, Please, Please, no military strikes in Syria.  Let us use our leadership responsibilities in the world to act in solidarity with the international community to bring about dialogue and human negotiations to resolve this conflict.  In the words of Pope Francis of Rome: “I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.”

We, the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey, are praying and fasting in solidarity with Pope Francis of Rome, with Ahmad Badreddin Hassou, the Great Mufti of Syria, other Muslim groups, tribal communities, the Druzes, the Ismaelites, other components of Syrian society and with all religious leaders of good will in our world.  We do this with the intention to avoid further bloodshed and sorrow to the people of Syria: Muslim, Christian, and other faiths.

The international community CAN bring about dialogue and negotiation to resolve this conflict.  We MUST do this in the name of all the Syrian people and indeed in the name of humanity itself.

Thank you,

Abbot Stan and the Trappist Monks of Mepkin Abbey

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Ken Grooms — Observer

Ken GroomsMepkin Abbey welcomed Ken Grooms for a three month observership in May. Ken is actually returning to South Carolina. He was born in Charleston and raised in Goose Creek. After completing a degree in philosophy at the College of Charleston (with a minor in music, playing trumpet for the Charleston Symphony), Ken did graduate studies in philosophy at the University of South Carolina. His desire to pursue further studies took him to Fordham University in New York City where he began to do volunteer work with the Missionaries of Charity in the Bronx. His work with Mother Teresa’s sisters became full time when they asked him to run their men’s shelter in the Bronx. And he was also working one day a week at their shelter for HIV patients in Manhattan. While giving himself in service in these efforts Ken was befriended by other volunteers which led him to Long Island where he was employed as a cook for the retired priests of the Diocese of Rockville Centre at their residence for senior priests. The desire for contemplative life was growing all through these years. And having visited Mepkin along his journey, he made contact to explore whether God might be calling him to our life. Ken has initiated the process of application and hopes to enter Mepkin in the near future.

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Piccolo at Mepkin

Some 280 folks visited Mepkin on Memorial Day to hear the Ensemble of St Clare at Mepkin Abbey perform a musical treat of Telemann, Bryars, Handel, Albinoni, Villa Lobos and Mozart. It was a sold out performance and then some — but all went away energized by the splendor of the music and the artistic brilliance of the musicians.

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Columbarium at Mepkin Expanding

Jim Rozier says it is the best deal around.  Rozier, the former Berkeley County Supervisor, is talking about the columbarium at Mepkin Abbey, which sits peacefully along a gravel walkway with an oak-tree lined grassy knoll on one side and sweet grass plants on the other.

Since the monks are often busy and have little contact with the outside world, Rozier oversees columbarium activity. He has been involved with the Mepkin community since he was a child. “The goal is for the columbarium to blend in and become part of Mepkin,” Rozier said.

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