Talks on St. Benedict

F. Russell Hittinger with the monks of Our Lady of Clear Creek (Oklahoma)

The Pope John Paul II Forum is honored to present two talks on St. Benedict. On February 24, F. Russell Hittinger will speak on “What St. Benedict Taught the Dark Ages — His and Ours” at Jones Hall, Univ. St. Thomas. On Saturday, March 12, the Abbot of Our Lady of Clear Creek (Oklahoma), The Right Reverend Philip Anderson, will speak on “Paradise Lost: The Rugged Road of the Beatitudes,” at Annunciation Church, Houston. Details about the talks will be posted on the Forum website soon.

The speakers will draw upon the Benedictine tradition as lived by the monks of the Solesmes foundation, renowned for their chant and their return to fundamentals of monastic life.

Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek is a monastic foundation of the French Abbey Notre Dame de Fontgombault, itself a foundation of Saint Pierre de Solesmes. (See the Abbey website, section on Origins for a complete history.)
Over the years Solesmes started new monasteries, one of which was the Abbey of Fontgombault, restored to monastic life in 1948. Fontgombault in turn, after having sent monks to three monasteries in France, has now started one in Oklahoma in response to the gracious invitation of His Excellency Edward Slattery, Bishop of Tulsa.

F. Russell Hittinger (brother of the director of the JP2 Forum) assisted the Diocese of Tulsa in bringing the monks to Tulsa and he is a lay oblate of the monastery. He wrote an article explaining the significance of the Solemses Benedictines coming to Tulsa diocese (see his article here).

Abbot Philip Anderson is an American born Benedictine monk who entered Fontgombault Abbey in the seventies after studying Christian culture at the University of Kansas with the late John Senior. 

Bishop Edward J.  Slattery

In 2000 Bishop Slattery shared the following remarks about the significance of having a community of Benedictines in his diocese:

With the whole Church you proclaim unceasingly the unity and the purity and the holiness of God, and you do so in a world which desperately needs the hope and the promise of the Church, but which, unfortunately, is so marred by sin that it cannot recognize that unity or that purity or that holiness unless you give a radical witness of it.

That radical witness which you are called to give is what we mean by evangelization, but there can be no true evangelization without contemplation; and, as Pope John Paul reminds us, contemplation is the very heart of Benedictine life. Thus we who are in the world to evangelize it for Christ will depend upon the monks of this house in a way far more complete than perhaps any of its members may suspect. In the same way, the monk who freely consecrates himself to God through the voluntary renunciations of poverty, chastity, obedience, through the practice of conversion and stability, all this leading him to a life of prayerful passion and radical detachment, will be the principal evangelizer of our communities; and from the marvelous and wholly divine arrangement by which those in the world are supported by those in the cloister, and those in the cloister are engaged in the most vital work imaginable in the world today, a new American civilization will be born, a civilization of love, rooted in contemplation and alive with the holiness of God.

Beloved members of the family of Saint Benedict, believe me when I tell you that from this house a new civilization will spring. Let it be intensely Benedictine, joyfully Benedictine, Benedictine in the very center of its search for God.

We are very blessed to host these two speakers in the following semester. Please join us if you can for both events.


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