Letter to our friends
July 5, 2007
Saints Cyril and Methodius
On July 15 at Sept-Fons (and on July 17 at Novy Dvur), we will celebrate the centenary of the birth of Father Jerome, who was a monk at Sept-Fons from 1928 to 1985. To commemorate this occasion, we thought it would be important to write to all our friends and benefactors.
We tend to be discreet about the influence of Father Jerome. The youths who come to the monastery sometimes arrive with one of his books in their pockets. But it also happens that a brother in formation realizes that he has not yet read anything by him. The monastic life that we lead is founded on the Gospel, on the desert Fathers of the early centuries, and on the Rule of Saint Benedict that the Fathers of the first Cîteaux transmitted to us, in a communal life at once humane and serious. Father Jerome, who was a master, would not have appreciated any reference to himself replacing these references: the central place of the Eucharist, Marian piety, the celebration of the Divine Office in its dimensions of intercession and substitution, and respect for manual work, for silence, for solitude, and for the communal life. These aspects have been developed in some texts published after his death. A final volume, Contemplative Life: Spiritual Theology III will appear soon through Word and Silence Editions.
For those who knew him, the influence of Father Jerome has been profound. Those within and outside the monastery who have had access to his writings have based their convictions on them. That is why we like him. There is more, however.
Considered in retrospect, the crisis that shook the twentieth century – and continues to shake Western society, the Church, and monasteries – appears as a kind of rupture. Father Jerome was a well-placed witness since he was in his maturity between 1950 and 1970. He was present in his time, and was able to evolve and transmit the flame without smothering or lessening it, but also without conserving it for a later time. The notes he made then, which display his characteristic humor and which are clear-sighted but without violence, would be difficult to publish as such, as the events remain so close.
The work of Father Jerome is not a monument. It is an encouragement, marked by a broad culture and a delicacy, to see clearly today how to lead and convey the monastic life or the Christian life to which God has called each of us. If that life is founded on grace, it requires intelligence, open-mindedness, invention, docility, judgment, audaciousness, and fidelity. All these are qualities found in the life and writings of Father Jerome.
Monsignor Jean-Claude Perisset, nuncio to Romania and friend of Father Jerome and of our monastery, will preside over the thanksgiving mass that we will celebrate at Novy Dvur on July 17. To celebrate this centenary, you might consider going into a church and pausing before the Blessed Sacrament, turned toward Our Lord. You will be following in Father Jerome’s footsteps.
At Novy Dvur, Br. Marian received the habit on May 8 and Br. Daniel pronounced his first vows on June 3. The taking of the habit happens often at Sept-Fons. Br. Hermann-Joseph, Br. Jean-Gabriel, and Br. Basil have taken the habit; Jean and Paul will take it soon; still others will in the fall.
And the construction works? I think often of the meeting of the widow of Sarepta with the prophet Elisha. It was a time of famine. The prophet proposed that the widow return with her almost-empty jar to her house in order to fill with oil the vessels that she would find there. The oil flowed in abundance, then dried up when there were no more vases. We receive fewer gifts, but we are in a little less need of them. Sept-Fons is receiving them, because they have great need. Finally, there are the clandestine communities. May the jar of oil not dry up too rapidly…Thank you!
Please count on our prayers and may Father Jerome obtain for you grace and fidelity,
Brother M.-Samuel, Superior of Novy Dvur
September 30, 2011, Feast of Saint Jerome
May 1 2011
September 2 2010
January 29, 2010
February 2, 2008
September 2, 2007
September 2, 2006
March 25, 2006
February 2, 2006
September 2, 2005