Letter to our friends

September 2 2010

Dear friends,

Last July 11, on Saint Benedict’s feast day, for the first time since our foundation, two brothers took the cloth on the same day: brother M.-Félix at Sept-Fons and brother M.-Sylvain at Nový Dvůr – a strange coincidence. If God did not send us so many young men, we would not dare to ask you for money. These vocations are a responsibility that we cannot bear alone. Thank you in advance; I am counting on you. Sometimes friends apologize for not being able to help us. If this is the case, remember us in your prayers and, when you receive our news, share our hopes with us. In this letter, you will find information about our work. Do not hesitate to write to us if you want to know more. We owe it to you to provide this information.

A few people fear that the letters we send cost us money. As we do most of the work ourselves, the costs (printing, stamps, etc.) do not exceed 2% of the donations we receive. Are our relationships not worth that price?

Msgr. Guy Gaucher, having given the retreat sermon at Sept-Fons in 2008, gave it at Nový Dvůr at the beginning of this year. As the Bishop Emeritus of Lisieux and a Carmelite, a member of the commission that established the critical publication of the Centenary, he is a specialist in Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus (and the Holy Face, he adds). He gives a humorous touch to his lectures. The relics of Saint Theresa visited Sept-Fons in 1997, when we were preparing the foundation, and I asked him about the possibility of bringing them to Nový Dvůr. Such a privilege normally requires the intervention of the Episcopal conference. Were we going to disturb the new Archbishop of Prague, Msgr. Duka, for so little? A solution then arose: in June, the relics were invited to Ukraine. Father. Augustine, recently appointed as third superior at Nový Dvůr to assist the deputy prior, moved mountains and managed to arrange everything. After having crossed Poland, the reliquary arrived for a discreet visit in the car of the Carmelite brothers, on the evening of Sunday, June 13. To the sound of the bells, we led it in procession to the church. The next day, after a solemn mass attended by our Premonstratensian neighbors, we took it around the monastery – especially to my office and the novitiate, strategic places! – before bringing it back, to the sound of litanies and psalms, via the guesthouse to the car park, from where the Carmelite brothers set off with it for Lille. The Apostles used to heal the sick through simple contact with their shadow. Christian faith tells us to go toward God body and soul, without separating the spirit from the body. Thus, the relics of a great saint are rather like a visit from a sister, an exemplary friend in religious life.

This summer our guesthouse has been constantly full. Tourists mingle with our guests. They enter the church in clothes that show little respect, look up in the air, stay a few minutes, then leave, leaving the doors wide open. The dignity of divine mass is not compatible with such behavior. We are thus forced to filter access to the church. When you come to see us, alone or in a group, do not hesitate to warn us. The hostelry is not very big and priority is given to monks, priests and people on retreat. If you would like to stay, and if it is not possible to accommodate you, we will propose alternative accommodation nearby. I know you will understand.

The Father Abbot of Sept-Fons made his regular visit at the end of July. A few weeks beforehand, the Novice Master had spent a week with us to meet the brothers and to give lectures and lead practice sessions for the novitiate. One afternoon, he and I were walking in the woods around Nový Dvůr. It was harvest time. The sound of a tractor and the murmur of a chain saw, in the distance, indicated that the brothers were at work. We talked about them. The conversation turned to close friends facing sickness, an unexpected death, others facing marriage problems. I said to him: “Life is cruel…” “No, it is difficult,” he answered. This art of tackling difficulties head-on and looking at them with confidence sums him up. Everyone, however, faces their share of difficulties, and some can be serious. Young people are sometimes spared this weight – though less and less – but when maturity comes, and even more so with great age, everyone bears hidden, often secret, burdens. Our prayer aims to support them and offer relief. Above all, we should not look back with nostalgia. “Paradise is not behind us,” wrote Henri Pourrat, “like a past beautiful dream. It is ahead of us and it is a task to be accomplished.”

Thank you again for helping us to fulfill our responsibilities. You can count on our prayers,
Br. 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
May, 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