Letter to our friends

January 11, 2012

Dear Friends,

Since Nový Dvůr was founded by the Abbey of Sept-Fons in August 2002, various events have punctuated our existence. I have told you about them; in other words, I wrote you our “history.” Would the monks be at the origin of that “history,” or could it be due to events arranged by God to manifest what he expects from us, giving rise, by His grace, to concrete actions that allow us to respond to his call? Does man create his own path, at best vaguely attentive to the Word of God? Does God draw the path of human destiny, on the condition that everyone adapts himself to what he demands? To enter the current into which God leads us, the proven method consists of discerning His intentions, staying calm, questioning events and elders and preventing oneself from taking hasty or awkward initiatives, without imagining that we know God’s will as soon as an idea or a desire comes to mind.

The month of December 2011 was rich in all kinds of events. It is not without embarrassment that I write this letter because, for once, in spite of myself I found myself at the center of these events: of course, the election and the abbatial benediction concerned the communities of Nový Dvůr and of Sept-Fons, our friends, and the diocese, but in a particular way it affected him who was elected and blessed. For you, we have described the unfolding of these days.

Let us begin at the beginning. When three priests and two young Czechoslovakians came to the Abbey of Sept-Fons during the summer of 1991 to request a foundation in their country, the Father Abbot and the Father Master, upon reflection, proposed that they send their young men to France so they could form them in the ways of the monastic life. Their number and their seriousness would manifest God’s intentions for the foundation. The Berlin wall fell. Czech seminaries and novitiates found new life. We were advised to create a foundation without delay, and we were invited to public events. Deaf to these petitions, we opened the doors of Sept-Fons to Czechs and Slovaks who were interested in our life. We gave monastic formation to those who wished to have it. That was twenty years ago.

The years passed. One day I will have to tell their story. Let us list a few episodes. The Cistercian abbey of Osek, transformed into a prison by the communists, was restored in 1992;

before closing its doors, it gave Sept-Fons one of its postulants. Today he is a monk at Nový Dvůr. In the neighboring area of Nečtiny, which gave us shelter for three years, is the site of the memorial to Father František Wonka, a priest from Manětín; he carried out a remarkable ministry during the Second World War. We used to go to a ruined Jewish cemetery a little way into the forest. The Romanesque church of Krašov was situated on our way to the site, and it was in a terrible state; we celebrated Holy Mass there once a year, in honor of Saint Andrew, and dreamed of restoring it. The construction of the monastery... Then came the foundation of the monastery, on August 20, 2002, at a hectic worksite, where, the day before, the workers were still active (nothing was ready except the chapel and a provisory scriptorium, the dormitory, and the superior’s office). At the dedication of the church, on September 2, 2004, nearly three thousand friends participated. A long path of maturation, trials, and joys, up until Nový Dvůr became a priory on September 14, 2007.

The months are similar to one another and they all run together. Now we are in December of 2011. Neither recollection, nor beautiful liturgies, nor fraternal attention are lacking. On December 8, Nový Dvůr becomes an abbey and the brothers elect their first abbot; on December 12, the bishop of Plzeň, whose support for us has never been found lacking, confers the abbatial blessing in the presence of friends, family, priests, religious, and abbots; on December 18, Sept-Fons invites the new abbot to celebrate a solemn Mass; this same day, we learned about the death of President Václav Havel; on December 23, the Father Abbot and two brothers from Nový Dvůr participate in the national funeral at Prague Cathedral; Christmas and the New Year turn the page on the preceding year; on January 6, 2012, Msgr. Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague, finds himself at Nový Dvůr writing for the journal Salve when the creation of the new cardinals becomes official news. The new cardinal presides over the Mass of the Baptism of the Lord.

Tuesday of the first week of Ordinary Time. I call the Father Master of Sept-Fons to give him some news: one of the brothers fights his familiar demons. The reaction of the Father Master: “You know, normally one thinks only of oneself; we often pray turned inward. But when we consecrate ourselves to that which the Church requires, it’s an entirely different story.”

What lesson can we learn from these events? Since everything at Nový Dvůr, especially the church, testifies to the generosity of those who have helped us build the monastery, it is appropriate to tell the story of these days, the memory of which will forevermore be inscribed in these very buildings. They are not just about the monks. They touch you as well – you and all those who count on the prayers of the monks. Becoming an abbey is not an end; it is a threshold. Thank you for continuing to give us your support. You can count on our prayers, and we count on your fidelity.

Br. M.-Samuel, Abbot of Nový Dvůr

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
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
September 2, 2006
March 25, 2006
February 2, 2006
September 2, 2005