Letter to our friends

February 2009

Dear Friends,
When you receive this letter, it will soon be time for the cloaking of Michal and the solemn profession of F. Bernard. At Sept-Fons, Guilhem received his monk’s habit on February 2 and was called brother Benedict (that day was the 28th anniversary of the abbey’s blessing by the Father Abbot). Father Pacôme pronounced his temporary vows on February 11. The fact that these brothers continue to show their commitment is a lesson and a stimulus for us. For each of them, we need to tirelessly encourage, exhort, sometimes threaten…as Saint Paul said, but these young people prove that following Christ is still relevant and that our times are just as favorable as any other.

Winter has been particularly tough. At Christmas we had with us at Sept-Fons brother Dieudonné, who comes from Senegal. When he realized that outside it was the same temperature as in the freezer (-16°C), he pulled such a face that we all burst out laughing before rapidly organizing his return, until the spring, to a warmer climate.

Monsignor Périsset, currently the nuncio in Berlin and a long-established friend of our two communities who used to teach canon law at Sept-Fons, agreed to ordain our brother André as a deacon on January 26. The Father Abbot, the Father Master of Sept-Fons, and a good group of brothers attended. There were more than fifty of us in the refectory on the day of the ordination. The day before, we had celebrated together the tenth anniversary of the founding of Nový Dvůr, and the day before that, some brothers had accompanied Father Jean de la Croix to Písek, the parish of his birth, where he celebrated his first mass. (We also give you extracts of the day’s homily.) This region, south of Prague, is known to be dechristianized. Compared to Moravia, where Father Procope celebrated his first mass after his ordination in October, the parishes are poor and the churches seem to be almost empty. In fact, despite these rather unfavorable aspects, the celebration was fervent, contemplative, and joyful. That Saturday morning, the small church was full of worshippers. Our brother Bruno played the organ, and it took the young priest more than an hour to bless each participant individually.

Considering the time that it will take to print this letter, you will have already received news from the Sept-Fons church site, which continues at rapid speed. You will remember that work started on October 20. If we had guessed then that the economic problems that would arise a few weeks later, we would never have dared start such a project. But, it was too late to turn back, and we do not regret it: Providence again has forced us to be audacious. Local companies are grateful to the abbey for giving them work at a time when orders are so scarce.

The brothers of Sept-Fons continue to do a large share of the work, according to their skills. They have learned to use spades and picks, but also jackhammers and even impressive telescopic machinery for which they have had to pass a driving test. Their work has considerably reduced our costs. In early February, the builders started on the plastering inside. Heating ducts are currently being installed. The parietal stones, which will be blessed at the consecration on October 17, were laid at the end of January. Thanks to the temporary chapel, which has been placed far away from the noise, the community’s life continues without too much disturbance.

I will finish these news items with thoughts from a Czech journalist on the international situation. He humorously explains that our western world lived above its means. The recession will set the record straight and more simplicity will do no harm to the quality of our life–quite to the contrary. Food manufacturers–which we are also–develop increasingly appealing products, he writes, whereas you just have to fast to make daily bread seem delicious. Obviously, the difficulties we encounter will temporarily generate a lot of worries. The Pope encourages us all to be mutually supportive. We have decided to wait for better days before starting construction of the building that will house the production of our repairing cream and mustard. We can continue to use the temporary facilities for a while longer. Our hostelry is almost finished. We will continue the current work if we can and will continue to support (albeit modestly) those in need, as we have ever since our foundation.

We ask you to pray for the father and the family of one of our young brothers. Struck down by a brain hemorrhage on January 24, he is still in a coma as I write. He has six children, the youngest of which is nine years old.

Life is easy for no one. It can, however, be good when illuminated by faith, when our eyes look up above the inevitable problems, when this light guides us. We regularly pray for you. We hope that the news we send you also encourages and supports you.

Be assured of my sincere feelings and gratitude,
f. M.-Samuel, prior

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
May, 2008
February 2, 2008
September 2, 2007
July 5, 2007
September 2, 2006
March 25, 2006
February 2, 2006
September 2, 2005