It is the intention of Father Joe, our Superior, that all the monks participate in an informal program of ongoing formation. In practical terms, it means during this time of pandemic that we get a speaker once a month who talks to us via Zoom. It is a weekend event for the whole community. The men in formation have a class on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons with the speaker. The rest of the community have a chapter with the same speaker on the Friday and Saturday nights.
The first in the series was conducted by Father Michael Simone, SJ, the assistant professor of Old Testament Studies at Boston College. Father Michael reflected with the community on the Psalms, the Wisdom Literature, and the preaching and teaching of the Gospels, especially St. Matthew.
The next presentation was by Dr. Robert Krieg, who is professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He based his talks on his recent book Treasures in the Field and invited us to reflect on what it means to be saved. He spoke about salvation in Jesus Christ, and he presented the four Gospel accounts of Jesus.
The community also had a recent community dialogue on racism. Following from our discussions, it was agreed to have an afternoon seminar on the topic via Zoom in August by Dr. Daniel J. Daly, who is the associate professor of moral theology at Boston College and lectures a module there on racism.
Our Monastic Institute, which usually takes place during the month of July, was canceled. As well as being a loss to the participants, it’s also a great loss to the community. To retrieve something from it, Father Joe has invited the two weekend speakers to give seminars for us. Father Xavier Nacke, OSB, who is a monk of Conception Abbey, will conduct a program on the Rule of Benedict. Sister Maureen McCabe, OCSO, from Wrentham Abbey, will speak on Cistercian spirituality. While the community is disappointed that we don’t have the Monastic Institute and the energy it brings, at least we have the opportunity to gain from the wisdom of our two speakers.