Letter to our friends

May, 2010

Dear Friends,

Your replies to my last letter were warm and numerous. And so I have decided to write you without delay, for we have just made an important decision: we are going to build the chapel for our guesthouse. In reference to Saint Bernard – look at that star, look at Mary… – it will be consecrated under the name Stella matutina, the Morning Star. It is a building of modest dimensions that will accommodate our guests, visitors, and groups who ask to come pray or celebrate Mass at the monastery.

Little by little, Europe is losing its identity by renouncing its Christian roots. Other cultures and religions and – even worse – a culture deprived of any religious dimension are going along with the culture that has modeled us. And so it is time to inscribe in stone, in concrete, in wood, and in glass the love of our God for his people and our desire to make a response, albeit a stuttering one. We need to have places that are nice and simple to celebrate this encounter.

To do this, we need you. It is not a matter of impoverishing yourselves in order to come to our aid. But today, if your excess might relieve our need, then our excess – in the area of prayer – will relieve your need as well. You have doubtless recognized the Second Letter to the Corinthians (chap. 8). It is true that we are interdependent. It is not for himself, selfishly, that a monk tries to live in the presence of God. He does so to contribute to bringing all people closer to God. And when you put your goods to the service of the Church, it is to God Himself that you make a gift.

Some news: at Sept-Fons, after the long year of work that culminated in the dedication of the church (the DVD of the ceremony is now available), the brothers can catch their breath; however, they are not out of work. They will turn their efforts now toward the guesthouse. Then they will soon return to the community (restrooms, dormitory, and cloisters). On Ascension, Brother Éloi will make his solemn profession and on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, Brother Joachim and Brother John the Baptist will be ordained, the latter a priest and the former a deacon. At Nový Dvůr, we would like to finish one last shed for chopping wood in the winter (up until now, we have done this work without shelter) and the little huts for the garden, and the orchard. The team of masons and woodworkers is now very accustomed to the task. We have purchased a used back-hoe and do some of the work ourselves. We must also install a fence so that tourists are not able to intrude. Two kilometers of elegant posts, wire, and shrubbery...

The sheepfold is a success: the first lamb came into the world on Palm Sunday. Great timing! On Divine Mercy Sunday, during the Octave of Easter, there were fifty-four of them. Brother Placid leapt into action and, because the brothers really helped him out, everyone was able to have a long night of prayer from the night of Holy Thursday until Good Friday, in spite of this increase in work.

In the middle of April, our bishop and forty of his priests came to the monastery to celebrate the year dedicated to Jean-Marie Vianney. He had asked for a lecture that you will find at our website. Several days later, a Slovakian Redemptorist gave us a lecture on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the “K Action” (“K” for Klášter, or monastery), when the Czechoslovakian militia and police arrested all the religious in the country and shut them up in a few convents. In attacking religious life, they were trying to weaken the Church. Sixty years later, we are here. Nothing and nobody can muzzle our interior liberty, unless we let ourselves be seduced by that which has only the appearance of liberty, and which is only the caricature of it – and, most often, the poison. This extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. The young brothers who rejoin us accept little by little the “yoke” of the Rule because they realize – even if, sometimes, things grate a little – that it has no other goal than to teach them true liberty: that of a life that has meaning and can free them from interior chains. It is that conviction that permits them to commit themselves. But the path is steep for some, because of the baggage they bring with them to the monastery. I am sometimes confused and in admiration of the efforts they make.

At the time of preparing this letter, we learn of the return to God of Cardinal Joseph Špidlík. He was a professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome for nearly fifty years, and was very knowledgeable about monasticism. “One of the most promising events during these last twenty years for the Czech Republic is the foundation of a Trappist monastery at Nový Dvůr,” he said at the time of the dedication of our church in 2004. This was encouraging for us and testified to a good understanding of the hidden fruitfulness of prayer and of monastic life. He is laid to rest at Velehrad. He had the esteem of Pope John Paul II and that of Benedict XVI. In these times, during which the Church experiences such profound trials, such men, by their personal merit and their convictions, contradict so many pernicious insinuations and re-establish a balance that should never have been broken.

Brother Daniel will make his solemn profession at Nový Dvůr on May 30. His parents were at the monastery for the Easter Vigil. His father is doing better and his mother takes good care of him. Christian faithfulness, family and conjugal faithfulness, faithfulness in prayer, monastic or priestly faithfulness: we carry these treasures in clay vases, these fragile flowers, but they are incontestably treasures and genuine flowers.

On Saturday, June 12, 2010, around 5 p.m., Czech national television will present a new film about how the Abbey of Sept-Fons had passed what it had received to the priory of Nový Dvůr. At our website you will find extracts of the conversation of the Father Abbot of Sept-Fons with Mrs. Šandova, the producer of the film, who has kindly authorized their publication.

Faithfully yours… and thank you!
Br. M.-Samuel
Prior of Nový Dvůr

To pass on to others the monastic life
To the priests of the diocese of Pilsen

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
January 29, 2010
Pentecost 2009
February 2009
May, 2008
February 2, 2008
September 2, 2007
July 5, 2007
September 2, 2006
March 25, 2006
February 2, 2006
September 2, 2005