On Saturday, December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Brs. Cassian Russell and Peter Damian Spera were ordained deacons by the auxiliary bishop of Atlanta, the Rt. Rev. Bernard Shlesinger.
On that same day our Trappist martyrs, along with 12 other religious who were killed in Algeria between 1993 and 1996, were beatified in Algeria. To remember them, the schola sang “Voici la nuit”, a hymn from the French Liturgy of the Hours.
In the photo, from left to right, are Br. Cassian, Dom Augustine, Bishop Shlesinger, Br. Peter Damian.
On Saturday, June 16, the Feast of St. Lutgard, our Brother Philip Wodzinski made his solemn profession in our Abbey Church, with Dom Augustine Myslinski presiding. Br. Philip’s parents and his 4 brothers were all present with the monastic community.
Br. Philip grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. With a degree in pastry arts from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, he has created beautiful and tasty desserts for our holiday meals. He serves as one of our cantors and has been managing our bakery for several years.
Br. Philip entered on October 1, 2012 and made his first simple vows on May 24, 2015.
We invite people 35 and under to come to this introduction to scripturally-based Christian prayer practice which draws us into a silent, loving communion with God. We will include praying the psalms, prayer of silence, invoking the name of Jesus, praying with the imagination, praying the rosary, and other forms of prayer, all of which are ways to deal with the clutter of chatter, thinking and commenting inside us, that prevent going deeper into God. We will include periods of practice and small group sharing of experience. This retreat, built on authentic monastic practice, will offer a practical vision of a journey, led by the Spirit, to the highest expression of human possibility.
From April 16 – 28 the fourteen junior From April 16 – 28 the fourteen junior
monks and nuns of the American Region (OCSO) met together for the Junior Seminar at
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA. Sr. Anna O’Meara of Our Lady of the Mississippi, with a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Catholic University, presented a series of interactive conferences on the Incarnation. Dom Thomas Davis, former abbot of Our Lady of New Clairvaux, drawing on his own study and translation of our Cistercian fathers, offered a series of conferences on the Meditations of William of St Thierry.
In their written evaluations, juniors often mention these gatherings as a significant time to get to know other juniors, to share their own experiences of the monastic life and to get know the host communities more deeply.
On a day trip to Atlanta, we visited the Sisters of Charity who greeted us graciously and introduced us to the women they care for.
On Monday, April 9, the Feast of the Annunciation, Br. Emilio Rafael Garcia-Dolon made his solemn profession in the abbey church of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit.
Br. Emilio Rafael was born in Matanzas, Cuba, in 1974. Living in an officially atheist society, his decision to be baptized on April 3, 1988, is a courageous one. After his baptism, he was given access to the library of the Cathedral where he found the writings of St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron and was attracted to Trappist life. Since there were no Trappist monasteries in Cuba, he connected with Franciscans. When he came to Miami, he lived as part of a Franciscan community associated with the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity.
On his early visits to the monastery, Alain Garcia learned of our Br. Emilio Quiros, then in the infirmary. Emilio Quiros had also been born in Matanzas many years earlier. The two natives of Matanzas never met face to face because Br. Emilio Quiros died before Alain was able to visit again; however, he chose to take Emilio’s name when he entered the novitiate March 17, 2013. He entered Holy Spirit August 15, 2012, and made his 1st Profession March 22, 2015.
Br. Emilio Rafael had considered requesting to make his final vows on April 27, the feast of St. Rafael. However, Annunciation, transferred to April 9, was chosen. It was not until the reception after he made his solemn profession that he was reminded that April 9 was the birth date of St Rafael in 1911.