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MONK LIFE From the Vocations Office of Saint Meinrad Archabbey

Honor Your Inner Monk App Vocation Narration: Br. James Jensen

Benedictine Perspectives: The Divine Office Cover: First Profession

Winter 2014 • No. 1

MONK LIFE On the cover: Br. James Jensen, OSB, is given the sign of peace by Archabbot Justin DuVall, OSB. FEATURES 2.....................................................From the Vocation Director 3...........................................................Honor Your Inner Monk App 4-5......................................................................Vocation Narration 6 .........................................................Benedictine Perspectives 7 ......................................................................Monk Spotlight 8 ..................................................................Ministry Spotlight Produced by the Vocations Office and the Communications Office of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Vocations Office, Saint Meinrad Archabbey 100 Hill Drive, St. Meinrad, IN 47577, (812) 357-6318 © 2014

From the Vocation Director Br. John Mark Falkenhain, OSB Greetings from the Office of Monastery Vocations at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, and welcome to the first edition of our newsletter, Monk

Life. For the last couple of years, I have wanted to begin a regular newsletter aimed at keeping our friends and contacts up-to-date and informed on the goings-on, the ideas, the beauty and the meaning that are constantly unfolding in the course of our monastic life on the Holy Hill. This year, I have been blessed to have the assistance of Br. Peduru and Br. William, two of our monks in 2

temporary vows, whose assistance, enthusiasm and technological expertise have moved several projects forward, including this publication, which Br. William will be heading up. In each issue, we hope to introduce you to one or two more of our monks, to highlight some of the ways we are laboring to serve the Church around us, and to share with you some of the insights, perceptions, and experiences of God that grow out of our unique perspective as monks living in the United States in the 21st century. We think that as our world continues to grow increasingly more complex and challenging, the voices of monks and nuns – men and women who move a little to the

side in order to perceive the world through the lens of the Gospel – become especially important in their capacity to teach, support, remind, and encourage the young adults of our Church as they, too, labor to build up the Kingdom of God. We hope that you will find in each of these issues something that intrigues you, something that challenges you, something that amuses you and something that inspires you to live more fully the Gospel life, and maybe even the Monk Life! ✢

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Honor Your Inner Monk App launched at NCYC 2013 By Br. William Sprauer, OSB The Office of Monastery Vocations at Saint Meinrad Archabbey was happy to present our “Honor Your Inner Monk” philosophy at the recent National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis. We spent several months planning a media campaign surrounding the idea that we are all called (at least a little) to be a monk. The general idea behind “Honor Your Inner Monk” is that, as Catholics, we are all called to a life of prayer; we call this the “Inner Monk.” So to “Honor Your Inner Monk,” put succinctly, is to simply pray, and to do it each and every day.

The vocations office is very grateful for all of those who helped us with the materials for NCYC, especially everyone in the Saint Meinrad Communications Office, as well as Robert Barzilauskas of 3Wing ProMedia. Robert was able to develop the iPhone and iPad versions of the Honor Your Inner Monk app. We are certainly looking forward to another visit to Indianapolis for NCYC 2015! For more information about or to download the free Honor Your Inner Monk app, visit ✢


Br. John Mark had the idea of actually creating a prayer app to go with this campaign, to offer people an easy and accessible way to pray every day. Utilizing my experience in software development, I was able to write a simple Android app that had a morning and afternoon prayer for every day of the month.

The response we received far exceeded all of our expectations. The youth were so excited to download the app that they had done so before we had even finished explaining it to them! We were completely taken aback by the immediacy with which our app was downloaded and shared among the youth. We were just happy to share a part of our lives with them, while packaging it in a familiar format.

Br. William Sprauer, OSB, (left) and Br. James Jensen, OSB, test out the Honor Your Inner Monk prayer app at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis, November 21-23, 2013.

The idea is just to get people praying every day, even if it is a simple 30-second prayer in the morning and afternoon. The hope is that these quick times of prayer will intensify the pray-er’s desire to connect with God on a daily basis. The goal, really, is to somehow relate our lives as monks to the lives of youth and young adults. Christ in the Gospels always meets people exactly where they are and challenges them to take the next step. I think this is what we did through the use of this prayer app.


VOCATION NARRATION SEEKING GOD: MY VOCATION STORY Br. James Jensen, OSB We all have a vocation story. Each and every one of us is called by God to follow Him. For me, coming to the monastery was about responding to a relationship with God that I had been pursuing since high school. When I was in high school, my youth minister encouraged me to attend a summer Catholic leadership conference, where I became aware of the responsibilities of Christian discipleship. This experience planted a seed of faith and discovery in my heart that still grows today. St. James, my patron saint, is the patron of pilgrims and there are two pilgrimages that had a lasting impact on my spiritual life. The first pilgrimage was when I was in college. I attended World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. Housed at the Cologne Cathedral are the relics of the three Magi. The World Youth Day trip focused on the Magi’s pilgrimage to see the Christ Child, but also emphasized our inner pilgrimage toward Christ. The Saint Meinrad vocations office has a website ( that explains this inner pilgrimage and gives resources to help cultivate it. Pope Benedict’s address at World Youth Day still has meaning for me The monks of Saint Meinrad pray together R five times each day in the Archabbey Church.


today, because his words helped make me aware of my inner pilgrimage. Here are some of his words from addressing the youth in August 2005: Here in Cologne we discover the joy of belonging to a family as vast as the world, including Heaven and earth, the past, the present, the future and every part of the earth. In this great band of pilgrims we walk side by side with Christ, we walk with the star that enlightens our history. He is present now as he was then in Bethlehem. He invites us to that inner pilgrimage which is called adoration. Let us set off on this pilgrimage of the spirit and let us ask him to be our guide. This World Youth Day experience helped me see the image of Christ in everyone around me, but it also helped challenge me to a greater

commitment of Christian discipleship because I realized none of us walks the path toward Christ alone. After further prayer and reflection, I gained a great appreciation for the Mass. Every Sunday we all join the whole Church, past, present and future, as we worship Christ in the Eucharist. The beauty of this gift still occupies much of my prayer. About three years later while I was working in corporate finance, I had the opportunity to travel to Germany again. I took the time to go to Cologne and see the relics of the three Magi, without all the busyness of World Youth Day. This mini-pilgrimage helped me see the work Christ had done in my life since the World Youth Day trip. As a result of this trip, I started seriously thinking about religious life and took my desires to be closer to God to prayer.

As I was reading the book, I kept looking at it through a monastic lens. I was more interested in the daily schedule and the impact the monastic life could have on my spiritual life than I was on the leadership parts of the book. I contacted my parish priest, who went to seminary at Saint Meinrad, and he put me in contact with the vocation director at the time, Fr. Anthony. Fr. Anthony told me about the Monastic Observance, a discernment retreat that included prayer with the monks, some work around the monastery and conferences on Benedictine spirituality. This retreat seemed like a good way for me to get to know more about the monastery and explore the possibility of a religious vocation. After this retreat, I was hesitant to start the application process because I enjoyed my career and did not want to take the risk of leaving my job to go to the monastery. There was something stirring in my heart, but I could not pinpoint it. As the Holy Spirit has its way of working, I spent the next three years in a struggle trying to figure out, with near absolute certainty, if


When I got back to work, my manager asked our group to read the book The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James Hunter. It is about how to apply the leadership principles of Christ to leadership in your professional life. More specifically, this book was written by a man who had spent three months at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and learned about the Benedictine way of life from Fr. Simeon Daly, OSB.

Br. James Jensen, OSB, says each step in the discernment process provides both direction and grace.

God was calling me to the monastic life at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. As you might guess, I never got a crystal-clear, 100% sign from God to come to Saint Meinrad. What I did get from the experience was a greater awareness of God working in my life. When I looked at coming to the monastery as a novice, and my profession of temporary vows this August, as steps in discernment, I was more willing to take the next step toward Christ in coming to the monastery. Essentially, I had done all the discerning I could do on my own and it was time to come to the monastery to continue that process. I think there is a good lesson in my discernment process for all of us. Discernment is relational. Ultimately, it is about our relationship with Christ and His Church. For me as a Benedictine monk, it is about finding God in my personal prayer, in my monastic

brothers, and in our daily liturgy we share in the Archabbey Church. We all must give God the space to speak to our hearts in prayer and then trust in Him when He does have something to say. For you, it might be allowing God to come to you through your prayer or even a relational experience with a close friend or family member. Although discernment is never crystal clear, there are graces from God that come up along the way and it is important to pay attention to those. When we start to piece those graces together, they become something like lines on our road to God. Like lines on a highway that give us direction and faith that we are moving toward our destination, paying attention to graces from God can give us direction and faith in taking the next step toward Him, our ultimate destination! âœ˘ 5

Benedictine Perspectives: The Divine Office By Fr. Adrian Burke, OSB When I entered the monastic community at Saint Meinrad in the summer of 1992, I was 28 years of age. What especially attracted me to the monastery was my experience of the community’s worship, especially the Liturgy of the Hours, which we monks call the “Divine Office.” I was a seminarian here for two years prior to entering the community, so I had plenty of opportunity to attend monastic liturgies as a guest – the high point was when my class stayed on campus during Holy Week for retreat and had the opportunity to attend the monastic services during the Triduum; it was glorious!

The largest ensemble I played in was Indiana University’s Marching Hundred – we had 200 instrumentalists with maybe 30 trombonists alone! By playing in groups, I learned that listening to the other musicians was just as important as producing good sound myself. Applying the same principle, singing with a large group of men came easy for me. So it was the music that attracted me to the monastic liturgy. I loved the 6

This diversity enriched the beauty of the liturgy and made it more interesting, and more prayerful. Monks don’t worry much about how well they can sing, because the resonance provided by our Church blends the distinct voices of the monks into a single voice – the community’s voice – which underscores our unity. Today we are a smaller community than when I entered 21 years ago, and my love for the liturgy has not changed. I still relish singing the R

I was a musician as a kid growing up. I learned to play the trombone as a young boy and played that instrument until my sophomore year in college. I played in groups of various sizes – duets and trios, jazz ensembles and orchestra-pit bands, as well as 80-plus member symphonic orchestras and marching bands.

chant sung by the monks, but I also loved to listen to the grand organ masterfully played. And the monks would occasionally organize small ensembles such as recorder quartets and brass trios, and sometimes we used percussion instruments to enrich processional music. The guitar was used as well, occasionally, to support the polyphonic singing of small schola groups.

Divine Office morning, noon and evening. I consider the community’s singing to be essential to our worship of God. Singing is visceral. It comes from the depths of a person’s physical frame and issues from the throat and mouth as a sound that expresses the love we have for God, giving a voice to creation, of which we are part, as we adore the Creator-God. As we chant ancient hymns and psalms in the monastic choir four times every day besides Mass, I deeply resonate with the history of God’s people. Indeed, the history of ancient Israel and the Church is my own history too, and so each time I chant the Divine Office with my brothers, I celebrate my own life with gratitude as a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. ✢

Fr. Adrian, in a trio of cantors, sings vespers in the Archabbey Church.


Br. John Glasenapp, OSB

Q. What is some of your background information? Where and when were you born? Where did you grow up? A. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, as the oldest of four. I moved to Chicago for college and lived there for 10 years before I entered the monastery. Q. What is your education history? A. I majored in music and music business at DePaul University in Chicago, and then started my PhD in musicology at University of Chicago. I decided to try my vocation then, so I took a leave of absence and started my novitiate. After completing an MA in Catholic philosophy at Saint Meinrad, I did an MA in medieval studies at Fordham University in New York City before resuming doctoral work in musicology, this time at Columbia University in New York. I’m now in my first semester at Columbia. Q. What is your prior work/life experience? A. After my bachelor’s degree, I worked for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for two years and taught piano privately.

Q. Describe your current work for the monastery. A. I am away at school working on my PhD in historical musicology and focusing on chant and liturgy, particularly of the Middle Ages. Q. What attracted you to monastic life? A. St. Benedict impressed me as someone extraordinarily pastoral and deeply contemplative. He seemed to me to understand the human person like few others, and he also knew how to structure a life that encouraged a monk to hold his blessings and challenges together in a creative tension that led to deeper levels of prayer. Once I learned to experience the Psalms and the Office as voicing this tension, I connected with it immediately.

Q. What advice would you give to those considering a monastic vocation? A. Commit to the process and be ready to give what it takes. Wherever the path of discernment leads, be ready to follow it. ✢

Q. What are some of your hobbies while away at school? What do you like to do in your free time? A. I like to cook and host people, run along the river, and get out to museums and concerts.

Twitter: @SMAVocations 7

Ministry Spotlight: Prison work filled with joy By Br. Zachary Wilberding, OSB As a Benedictine monk, I take the Rule of St. Benedict for monasteries as the pattern of my life. Over the course of my monastic life, I have read the holy Rule, listened to the holy Rule, read about it and heard talks about it. One point that has often been made about the Rule is that, while St. Benedict prescribes that monks should work, he does not direct them to any particular form of work.

I have done many different kinds of work inside and outside the monastery, but this work with men in prison is the most satisfying and joy-filled that I have ever done. Together we build community in a very difficult situation, we pray together and try to uncover what it means to follow Christ, and then we 8

Some people might find it surprising that a monk does this kind of work. Some people think of monks as retiring, cloistered, spiritual seekers with little contact with everyday life, and the Rule of St. Benedict does not mention prison ministry as something for monks to do. To better understand prison ministry as monastic work, we need to go to the source: the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We turn to the Gospel for an explanation of monastic life because St. Benedict tells us in the Rule that we will take the Gospel for our guide. Whatever rule Benedict may have set up, it was based on and conditioned by the rule of Christ in the Gospel. R

In my case, a major portion of my work life involves ministry to offenders in a medium-security state prison. In this ministry, I conduct an ecumenical Bible study group and a weekly catechesis group. I coordinate rosary devotions and I supervise seminarians who engage in prison ministry as part of their formation for the priesthood. I also coordinate the weekly celebration of the Eucharist by recruiting priests, obtaining supplies and organizing the celebration.

look for how we need to change our lives to become more faithful disciples.

And turning to Matthew 25:31-45, we find Jesus’ instruction that those who enter the kingdom of God will be those who visited Him, Jesus, in the guise of the prisoner, the sick and the stranger. So, it seems that for the serious follower of St. Benedict, prison ministry may be part of the program. But aren’t monks supposed to be cloistered and withdrawn? Monks must spend a certain amount of time in solitude, listening to the Word of God. This has been the backbone of the monastic project from the beginning. And yet, we have examples from our earliest leaders of persons who combined solitude and prayer with service. Even St. Antony the Great left his solitude in the Egyptian desert to comfort the Christians being persecuted in Alexandria. Saints Augustine of Canterbury, Boniface, Bruno and Bernard are all examples of monastics who also went forth in mission and ministry. âœ˘

Br. Zachary Wilberding, OSB, (right) works in prison ministry as a Benedictine Monk.

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S I PRAY, REveal to me your way for me to you, lord god.


Monk Life + Winter 2014  

The monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey invite you to explore our way of life.

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