St. Benedict Center Newsletter - Celebrating 20 Years of Ministry and Service

With heartfelt Benedictine hospitality, the monks of Christ the King Priory welcome you to St. Benedict Center for an opportunity to rest and grow in the Lord.


Dear Friends,

Often retreatants ask us monks to bless medals of St. Benedict, or crosses, rosaries, statues, etc. Such religious articles are an expression of our faith; they remind us of God’s loving, caring and protecting presence with us, and also of the saints as our heavenly friends and intercessors. Therefore, for us Christians, religious items are not mere charms or objects with magic power to bring us good luck or better health.

On the front side of the St. Benedict Medal, we see a statue of the saint holding in his hands a cross, the symbol of our faith in Christ, and his Rule for monks. On the margins of the medal, we find Latin words that can be translated as, “May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death!” Benedictines have always regarded St. Benedict as a special patron of a happy death.

The reverse side of the medal shows a cross inscribed with initial letters of Latin sentences that can be rendered as, “May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon (Satan) never be my guide!” The initial letters written around the perimeter, representing Latin words, are a firm rejection of Satan: “Be gone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!” The medal, worn on our body or kept in our house or car, is an expression of our readiness, with the help of God’s grace and through the intercession of St. Benedict, to reject the power and the deceptions of Satan. Please visit our Medals page for purchasing blessed St. Benedict Medals of various sizes and designs. - The arches in the concourses at St. Benedict Center hint at the medal; each one has a circular opening with a cross in it.

St. Benedict Center Roof Damage

St. Benedict Center Roof Damage

We have improved our Wi-Fi at the Center; it is now available everywhere in the building. - The flat roofs of St. Benedict Center need to be replaced. They are already beyond their expected life span of twenty years. Over time the roof’s rubber membrane, exposed to the hot sun and to the cold of winter, contracts and pulls away from its surface causing leaks to occur more and more frequently. Most urgent is the replacement of the roof above the original guest wing by the lake because ceiling leaks can render guest rooms unusable until they are fixed. The cost of replacing the flat roof of this guest wing is estimated to be $100,000. We need your help with covering this expense. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Fr. Joel Macul, OSB.

Fr. Joel Macul, OSB.

 

From our monastery, I can report that our former prior, Fr. Mauritius Wilde, was asked to become prior at the Benedictine study house of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, Italy. Fr. Joel Macul was appointed as his successor. Fr. Joel was previously the abbot of St. Paul’s Abbey in Newton, New Jersey. Check out our Prior Joel's web page to learn more about him.

 

Fr. Anselm Gruen, Ph.D.

Fr. Anselm Gruen, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

In May, it will be 20 years since St. Benedict Center opened. On Sunday afternoon, July 16, there will be a special anniversary event. Please mark your calendars.
Especially worth noting among the upcoming events of our program schedule is the one-day retreat on April 22, 2017, with Fr. Anselm Gruen, Ph.D., from Germany titled, Jesus: The Image of God’s Mercy. He will speak to us about his personal, transformative journey with Jesus. - I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB. 
Administrator
St. Benedict Center

St. Benedict Center

St. Benedict Center

News Release - Rev. Anselm Gruen, OSB, to Speak at St. Benedict Center

Schuyler, NE – The Rev. Anselm Gruen, OSB, Ph.D., one of the most frequently read spiritual authors of our time, will present a one-day retreat at St. Benedict Center, four miles north of Schuyler on Saturday, April 22, 2017.  His retreat is titled, Jesus: The Image of God’s Mercy and will be an encounter with Jesus who is “the face of the Father’s mercy” (Pope Francis).  Jesus gives God a human face.  Who is Jesus for you?  Is He your model who shows you how to live?  Does He show you the Divine reality in your own heart and in the people around you?  Is He your companion even in humanly challenging situations of your day-to-day living who opens you up to love, mercy and gentleness?  This day will enliven and deepen your relationship with Him.

 

Father Anselm is a Benedictine monk of the Abbey of Muensterschwarzach in Germany.  He is widely respected for his ability to present classic Christian spirituality in a modern context.  In his numerous retreats and talks around the world, Fr. Anselm, a counselor and advisor, sought-after speaker and retreat master, responds to the needs and questions of the people.   “It is an important goal for me to interpret Scriptural texts in a way that people understand them,” he said.  “As a Missionary Benedictine, I want to proclaim the Christian message in a way that people sense, this is about me, this is not far away from me.”  Fr. Anselm’s numerous books, among them, Images of Jesus (Continuum), Everybody Has an Angel (Crossroad) and Angels of Grace (Crossroad), are international bestsellers.  His books have been translated into 35 languages and are especially popular in Germany, Brazil, Argentina., Chile, Korea and China.  300 titles are available and 20 Million copies have been sold worldwide.  Fr. Anselm will come to us from Germany for this special event.

The retreat runs from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; registration begins at 8:30 a.m.  Some guest rooms are available for those who would like to spend the night.  The program fee is $ 35.  Please bring your own sack lunch. HOWEVER, lunch is available at the Center for $ 10.50 (includes tax), if you pay for it BEFORE the program starts.  For more information call St. Benedict Center 402-352-8819 or visit www.StBenedictCenter.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr. Thomas' Newsletter

Dear Friends, 

A concert pianist said, “If I don’t practice for one day, I notice.  If I don’t practice for two days, my friends notice.  If I don’t practice for three days, the audience notices.”  I feel very similarly about prayer.  It can happen that I fall out of my usual rhythm of prayer, e.g., when I travel.  If I don’t pray for a day, God notices.  If I don’t pray for two days, I sense it.  I feel different.  If I don’t pray for three days, those around me sense it.  Something about me is different.  Whether I pray or not doesn’t only affect me, it has an effect on the people around me, too. 

Jesus tells us that we may pray with great trust.  In addressing God as ‘Father,’ he uses in his Aramaic mother tongue the word ‘Abba,’ which literally means, ‘Daddy.’  Present your needs to God, he says, just as a child turns to his/her father or mother expecting everything they need from them.  And Jesus calls us to perseverance in prayer.  If a friend helps another even at an inconvenient hour, if parents who love their children nurture them and care for them, how much more will God send the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! 

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB

A retreat is an opportunity to sort out our priorities in life.  It helps us recognize more clearly what to pray for.  Besides petition, there are other forms of prayer: praise, thanksgiving, adoration … to name just a few.  Through personal reflection, a retreat program, and/or spiritual direction, we can gain clarity about how we can live spiritually in the midst of our busy day-to-day lives, which times of the day or the week we want to reserve for God, and how we want to use these times, e.g. for praying with Holy Scripture or for prayerfully reflecting on our past day.  Important are regularity and persistence. -    

We have completely revised our website.  There is only one common home page now for the monastery and all its ministries, including St. Benedict Center.  The website is easier to navigate, has a younger look and feel and offers, among other things, more information about the monks.  It is well viewable on wide screens, tablets and smart phones.  Donations to the projects supported by the Benedictine Mission House are possible online now, too.  They can be an expression of your support and care for the poor and excluded people in our world. 

One new tool of promoting our retreats is email campaigns.  From the new website, PDF versions of our program flyers can now be downloaded as well. – We also redesigned our St. Benedict Center picture brochures.  The one titled, Oasis of Peace describes the Center in general, and the other one called, Conference and Retreat Center is specifically for those who might be interested in bringing their own group to the Center. - In our St. Benedict Center housekeeping department, we have a new co-worker, Chriss, who replaced Mary Kay after her retirement.

Fr. Anselm Gruen, OSB

Fr. Anselm Gruen, OSB

Especially worth noting among the upcoming events of our program schedule are, as always, our Christmas Craft Show starting on November 27, the nativity scenes, and our lively Christmas Pageant on December 3.  On April 22, 2017, our brother monk from Germany, Fr. Anselm Gruen, OSB, Ph.D., will be with us for a one-day retreat titled, Jesus: The Image of God’s Mercy.  He will speak to us about his personal and transformative journey with Jesus. - I am looking forward to seeing you again soon! 

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator

Summer Newsletter

Dear Friends, 

On Easter Sunday, we put up a new tapestry on the north wall of our chapel at St. Benedict Center.  It is a quilt, which Diane Gubbels made from over 1000 pieces and 150 different batik fabrics and donated to us!  Janet Sievers helped with the quilting.  Thank you!  The quilt’s title is, “Wood and Light: Wood of the Cross- Light of the Resurrection.”

The artistically designed quilt is a meditation on the mystery and the gift of our redemption.  Imagine the wood of the cross, holding the body of Christ.  Think of the heart of Jesus, where the true weight of our human darkness and sinfulness was felt.  As you look at this piece, you will see “the wood of the cross” and the "heart of our Lord," represented by the red color at the center.  From the upper left, you can almost see the light coming from heaven, shining down upon our Savior, our saving grace.  Imagine the heavy darkness that shadowed the hearts of those standing at the foot of the cross that day.  "It is done."  This darkness is seen in the earth tones at the base of this piece.  Each of us stands there in the darkness looking up at the cross.  

But even as the cross held our Savior, the stone could not hold Him in darkness.  The “light of the resurrection” shines forth from the cross; the light of our Savior shines: He lives!  This light is represented not only in color placement but also in the "rays" of quilting coming from the "heart" of our Redeemer, shining down to us standing in the darkness at the foot of the cross, and in all directions, for ALL to be saved.  We can all experience His light in our lives.  In this quilt, there is "wood and light."  It is meant to be a reminder of the Truth and Life in Jesus.  This quilt can accompany us beyond Easter throughout the year.

We have two new co-workers at St. Benedict Center: Mary Jo in the kitchen and Cindy at the front desk. – We added extra refrigerators for the use of our guests in both day lounges and at the ends of both guest wings.  Also, we added microwaves for your convenience to the cereal and milk station in the dining room and to the upper day lounge.  Finally, we have new wagons for your luggage in the lobby.  Several of these items are gifts of generous retreatants.  Thank you! – Besides promoting our programs through e-mail campaigns, we have started sending out our newsletter also in this manner.  Please let us know, through our website www.stbenedictcenter.com, if you would like to receive our newsletter electronically. 

Especially worth noting among the upcoming events of our program [DeaconJamesKeating] schedule is BLOOM, the retreat for mothers and their teenage daughters, on July 23-24, and the retreat, Fathers and Sons—Together Forever for fathers and their teenage sons on July 30-31. - Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., from Omaha, will present a wonderful retreat for married couples on Oct. 29-30 titled, Marriage in the Lord. - I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator

Please note: The Holy Rule of St. Benedict, a series of interviews with our Prior, Fr. Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., airs on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. on Spirit Catholic Radio Network 102.7.  Kris McGregor of Discerning Hearts conducts the interviews. Tell your friends to tune in and learn more about Benedictine Spirituality!  Podcasts of the shows can be found here.

Spring Newsletter - March 2016

Dear Friends,
 
Our motherhouse in Germany, the Benedictine Abbey of Muensterschwarzach, located about ninety miles east of Frankfurt in Northern Bavaria, celebrates 1,200 years since its foundation.  The monastery dates back to the time of Charlemagne and considers Benedict of Aniane its first abbot, who united all monasteries of the vast Franconian Empire under the Rule of St. Benedict.  The Benedictines of the Abbey experienced many heights and depths in the course of their long history.  There were good times of renewal and flourishing like under Blessed Abbot Egbert (1047-1077), but there were also dark hours of war, fire, decay and suppression.  Yet the monks returned to their home time and again, for 1,200 years.

Muensterschwarzach

Since 1913, Missionary Benedictine monks have lived at Muensterschwarzach.  Combining a communal monastic life-style with missionary and apostolic activity, we work in twenty-two countries around the world.  Among other things, the one hundred monks who currently live at the Abbey run a junior high and high school with 800 students, and a large retreat center.  Also they house and take care of over thirty refuge seekers, mainly from the Middle-East, among them unaccompanied minors.  
 
The oldest item that was found on the monastery’s compound is a key from the Carolingian period (8th – 9thcentury).  This key was the inspiration for the jubilee year’s motto: “Be Open.”  The goal is new openness of the monks toward God and toward the people in their various ministries.  With this intention, the monks observed a Sabbath time of intense prayer and listening to God during the Season of Lent.

In Nebraska, there is no better place for growing in a stance of openness to God and to the people than the St. Benedict Center. -  Have you ever thought of bringing a group of people from your parish, your group of friends, your Bible study group or your faith sharing group to St. Benedict Center?    Would you like some input and spiritual guidance during your stay?  We are delighted to offer you our half-day retreat package: a presentation by a monk or lay facilitator, time by yourself, silent reflection, sharing and a delicious home-cooked lunch, all for $ 19.95 per person, tax included.  Upon request, monks are also available for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is possible to join the monks for Mass (Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 11:15 a.m.; Tue, Thu 5:30 p.m.). - I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!  
 
Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB, Administrator

Fr. Thomas Newsletter - Dec 2015

Dear Friends,

The Australian Trappist and well-known spiritual author Fr. Michael Casey wrote a book titled, Strangers to the City.  In it he points to Chapter 4 of St. Benedict’s Rule, in which Benedict advises the monks “to make themselves strangers to the actions of the age.”  Benedict himself had, as a young man, left the city of his studies, Rome, in order to seek the solitude of a cave in Subiaco.  There he deeply experienced God’s presence while living in a cave for three years.  Benedict also says that the monks are called to conversion, to taking on the values and beliefs of the gospel, and to viewing things with the eyes of Christ.  

Not everybody can physically leave the world as monks do.  But a cartoon I saw this week certainly expresses our truth: It is hard to hear the voice of the shepherd if the sheep constantly are distracted by so many other voices!  This is not to say that a person necessarily should give up TV, smart phones, and Facebook (actually that’s where I found the cartoon!).  Nevertheless, it is necessary to have some inner distance from what is clamoring for our attention in our modern world, to become quiet, and to listen inward in order for us to hear the loving voice of our Divine Shepherd who never condemns us, who rather seeks us out, carries us and guides us. 

Going on retreat is one good way of becoming a “stranger to the city” for all of us: attending one of our scheduled retreats or just taking quiet time by oneself at St. Benedict Center of resting, arriving in the present moment, speaking to God in prayer and listening to God, may be even meeting with one of the monks for spiritual direction. 

At the Center, you will meet new co-workers: Deb greets and serves you as hostess in the

                                      

office; Karen and Julie have joined our kitchen team.  As part of an ongoing effort to improve the Center, we have made the following amenities available to you this year: new softer pillows on all guest beds, queen sized beds in several rooms, automatic door openers at main entrance and lake side door; a cell phone signal repeater, which makes cell phone calls possible in the lobby for your convenience (please respect other retreatants’ need for silence); and two UHD smart TV’s for groups in the conference rooms.

Especially worth noting among the upcoming events of our program schedule is our nativity scenes display, inviting you for a pilgrimage to the Center at the start of the Year of Mercy.  Our Valentine's Day Dinner on February 14, 2016, begins with Mass at 5:00 p.m., followed by a delicious 4 course meal.  On April 9 – 10, Dr. John Gresham from St. Louis and his wife Mary Jane will offer Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage Retreat with ideas and concrete direction for praying together as a couple.