Letter to our friends

March 10, 2013

4th Sunday of Lent « Laetare »

Dear Friends,

On March 19, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Father Abbot of Sept-Fons will bless the chapel in our infirmary, which is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, and will consecrate the altar by placing in it a relic of the Blessed Guerric of Igny (a 12th-century Cistercian abbot known for his Marian piety) and another of Saint Vojtěch, which was presented to us by Dominik Duka, the archbishop of Prague. Saint Vojtěch (956-997, whose confirmation name was Adalbert) was ordained a priest by the first bishop of Prague, before succeeding him as the head of a diocese that included western Bohemia (where we are now located), southern Poland, and the borders of Slovakia. Strong opposition forced him to retire, which he did at a Benedictine abbey in Rome. However, he went back to his own diocese, founded the monastery of Břevnov, and crowned his life, which he consecrated to announcing the Gospel, with martyrdom.

A month ago, I was in France for the solemn profession of Brother Charles Lwanga, from Senegal, when we learned about the resignation of Benedict XVI and the nomination of the new bishop of Moulins (France), Monsignor Laurent Percerou, which would be officially announced a few days later. When you read this letter, a new pope will probably have already been elected to the Holy See. If that is the case, we accompany him with our prayers.

The great pope, who gave us on February 11 a remarkable example of humility, wrote: The school of faith is not a triumphant march, but a path scattered with sufferings and with love, with trials and faithfulness, to be renewed every day (Catechism of May 24, 2006). Since 1970, then a simple priest, Joseph Ratzinger wrote these other lines: …Today we find simple believers, discreet and nearly silent, who accomplish in this period of troubles the true mission of the Church: they pray and show patience in their daily life; their attitude is inspired by the word of God. Pray and show proof of patience in daily life… What a program! With these few sentences, we hope to give homage to Benedict XVI.

This year we will celebrate the 1,150th anniversary of the coming to Great Moravia of the Saints Cyril and Methodius, blood brothers born in Thessaloniki in 863. Having gone back to Rome after a few years, Cyril became a monk (in 868) and died on February 14, 869. Methodius, who had been ordained a priest, was named an archbishop and came back to pursue his work of evangelization. On the way back, he became alarmed, and ended up being put in prison by the opponents of his apostolic choices, which Rome had confirmed. He died at Velehrad in 885. This is where, in 1985, Christians united themselves around Cardinal Tomášek to ask for the religious liberty that they would obtain four years later. It was to this place as well that Pope John Paul II came in

1990, during his first visit to Czechoslovakia. A few young men who would later become monks at Novy Dvur were a part of that meeting.

On the occasion of this anniversary, Slovakia (in the Euro zone) decided to make a commemorative coin bearing the faces of the two Apostles of the Slaves. This decision provoked protests from France, and the European commission initially asked for the Christian symbols to be withdrawn. Having given in once, the Slovakian central bank, under pressure from Christians, then insisted and got its way. Our Slovakian brothers dream of introducing some of these coins into France, so that Cyril and Methodius might put a little Christian common sense in the heads and the hearts of our contemporaries. We reflect on the question of how to give substance to this project.

At Novy Dvur, the building that is destined to shelter our workshops has been watertight since November, and the works are progressing. At Sept-Fons, the renovation of the washrooms, the dormitory, and the cloister is becoming more and more necessary. The brothers hesitate, for they must move into temporary spaces before they can undertake the works.Certainly, they must be able to sleep somewhere

-and there are so many of them! The deadline is approaching. This fall? We have also received good news from our « far-away brothers » that some of you know already. In very precarious conditions, they lead the monastic life faithfully and courageously and they make young men feel welcome.We help them in different ways, particularly financially. Pray for them as well as for us.

Guerric and Vojtěch, Cyril and Methodius, monk and bishop… These four friends of God show us the way of an apostolic richness – hidden for the monks, clear and visible for the bishop, always strewn with ambushes – one and the other participating in the grace of Christ. Please count on our prayers. Thanks for your faithful support.

Br. Samuel, Abbot of Novy Dvur

February 2009
September, 2nd 2014
Autumn 2013
July 5, 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
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