Professed: August 19, 1967
Hometown: Bar Harbor, Maine
Monastery Work: Prior
Born on January 1, 1947 in Bar Harbor, I entered the Benedictine Mission Seminary at St. Paul’s Abbey, Newton, NJ, in 1960. Professed for the abbey in 1967, my monastic life progressed through the usual educational steps, studying theology at St. Meinrad School of Theology and after ordination, earning a licentiate at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario. Service in the monastery included working at the abbey’s summer camp for boys, giving retreats and directing our Queen of Peace Retreat House, being part of the monastery formation team, teaching Scripture for some years in the nearby Don Bosco Seminary College and serving as claustral prior in the community. After nearly 25 years, I was asked to share in the missionary work of the Congregation. In 1991, I was assigned to our Prince of Peace Priory in Nairobi/Tigoni, Kenya. There I entered the new world of East Africa with the specific task of teaching Scripture in Tangaza College and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and being part of the formation team in the monastery.
After five fruitful and enjoyable years teaching African religious seminarians, another call came and I returned to the abbey in Newton. In 1997, I was elected as abbot of St. Paul’s. After a few years, the community began a discernment process about our future. We painfully but honestly reached the decision that we would eventually phase out the monastery and close. This was done in 2001. But that was not the end of the story. The Benedictine monks of Waegwan Abbey, South Korea, in our Ottilien Congregation agreed to come to Newton and begin a new adventure. I was asked to be one of three from the original community to help them adjust to a new country. And so for fourteen years I lived with a small Korean Benedictine community now living in my former monastery. In the meantime, since I was free from major administrative duties that come with running a community, I was asked to serve as abbot delegate for our Congregation’s small monastery in Kerala, South India. Visiting the community several times a year gave me an unexpected opportunity to experience another rich and fascinating world.
When I was blessed as abbot, I chose as my motto a phrase from the Prologue of the Rule of Benedict, Dilatato Corde, “with an expanded heart.” My experience in Kenya and East Africa had truly stretched my heart and opened me to the richness of human and Christian life in our world. Other calls within our missionary Congregation since then have expanded my heart even further. When Abbot Michael of Münsterschwarzach asked me to serve here at Christ the King Priory, I knew that the stretching of my heart was to continue. The broadness of the Nebraska horizon and the warm welcome of the people here can only continue to make sure that the core of our being, our heart, never stops growing and learning to love.