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.
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