Letter to our friends

September 2, 2006

Second anniversary of the dedication of our church

Dear friends,

Over the whole summer, the construction work on the guest house has kept on going briskly. Guests and visitors are coming so numerous that our desire to open the guest house at last becomes fervent. Facades are almost achieved. The interior is still an empty shell: brick vaults on the ground floor, a majestic frame structure on the first floor that needs to be equipped with pipes, electric network, heating system, a floor, a staircase, partitions… A further half a million dollars and we will be able to inaugurate the former sheepfold which will keep its name but with a reference to the Good Shepherd. Providence does not let us lack of anything, thanks to you, but does not provide for future security.

It is time we had a look backward on this adventure, started in 1999 with the purchase of the land and the ruins of the farm, or even in 1991 with the arrival of the first Czech brothers to Sept-Fons Abbey, or for me in 1983, when I entered the novitiate… What lessons, what perspectives come out from these long years? Arriving to the monastery, I found an ordinary community: aged brothers, some of them edifying and few young people at the novitiate. A youngster entering the monastery does not look at the future. He seeks to reply to an indistinct appeal for a life of prayers that summarizes everything and is a day to day realisation as the sense of one's calling clarifies.

Almost a quarter of a century has gone by. A thousand kilometres away from France, I am living the same life as the one I dedicated after emerging from an agitated adolescence. The world has changed: communism collapsed, and old Europe continues to loose its faith and forgets its Christian roots. The Muslim world awakes. If it stands out from the atheist environment, it is distorted by violence and has demonstrated several times everywhere in the world how blind this violence could be. Sept-Fons has changed: the abbey I entered as a novice now welcomes young people from every part of the world. Emerging from this buzzing hive, stand a group of Senegalese regularly visiting Nový Dvůr maybe already to familiarise themselves with the difficulties of a foundation and young monks coming from a country where Christian faith is persecuted and monastic life must be clandestine. We support them with donations, of course, but mostly with the training we are transmitting under extremely difficult conditions. Telling more would be dangerous for them.

I receive many letters from you. Some express encouragements, sometimes admiration for the work realised, thanks to God and thanks to you. They also communicate your own hardships: illness, grieve, divorces, unemployment or the pain to see a relative and grand-children loose faith. Hence, prayer is a matter of urgency.

Hard times have their positive sides though. They open our eyes more profitably than a life free of trouble would. Nový Dvůr has had its share. The deepest ones are invisible and uneasily disclosed. They are about the intimate struggle of a heart who sincerely wants to offer itself to God and resists and how powerless we find ourselves when we help the brothers to overcome the fragilities of their dispositions and to find their balance of monk and adult. These worries make the core of our days, much more than money problems or the contingencies around construction work.

Prayer is a matter of urgency. Yet, it needs a frame. If the construction of our monastery is almost completed (we need two more years of slow-going works to achieve our kitchen, the guest house, the workshops building, the sheepfold…) the charge left is immense. Young people are so numerous in Sept-Fons that its walls need to be pushed and it badly requires renovation. We subsidized the construction of a chapel in a village in Senegal; clandestine monastic communities await support and training; Nový Dvůr remains to be achieved…

Prayer is a matter of urgency, particularly for every one of us, since the best way to increase Christ's presence in the world is still to revive it in our hearts.

The arrival of young people of so many different origins, the experience of these monks who are suffering because of their faith, the foundation in the Czech Republic have widened up our horizon to a worldwide dimension and have awaken us to realities we ignored, to countries which name was unknown to us. They encourage us to work for a fundamental mission on which depend the beauty and truth of the world we will bequeath to those following us. Let us continue together.

The organisation of our mails has been modified: from now on those who wish may receive this mail electronically. If the organisation of this process is a bit heavy, its exploitation will save money. You will receive a brief message, approximately every two months, maybe with a small text, a piece of homily which might help you to live as a Christian. The others will still receive a letter approximately 4 times a year or just once if they prefer. Please write your wish on the coupon enclosed. We will seal this new step forward in our friendship with a present: a brochure on Nový Dvůr that we are going to print for sale and offer to the postulants.

Thank you, I rely on you. And you know you can rely on our prayer.

Monastery of Nový Dvůr
Father Samuel

February 2009
September, 2nd 2014
Autumn 2013
July 5, 2013
March 10, 2013
A few weeks before Christmas 2012
September 2, 2012, Solemnity of the Dedication of Novy Dvur
Whit Sunday 2012
January 11, 2012
September 30, 2011, Feast of Saint Jerome
May 1 2011
September 2 2010
May, 2010
January 29, 2010
Pentecost 2009
February 2009
May, 2008
February 2, 2008
September 2, 2007
July 5, 2007
March 25, 2006
February 2, 2006
September 2, 2005