Oblate Day in September, Day of Recollection in October


Some 30 people, Oblates and family members and other guests, came to the Archabbey for our 30th annual Oblate Day. Archabbot Douglas celebrated Mass at 10:30 A.M. for the group in Mary, Mother of Wisdom Chapel. The congregation also included family and friends of deceased golfer Arnold Palmer in remembrance of the first anniversary of his death. After Midday Prayer, lunch, and some free time, Oblation ceremonies were held in the basilica at 1:45, during which Fr. Donald received the following as Oblate novices:

William Matthews of Greensburg, PA
James C. Samuels, Jr., of Aliquippa, PA.

After time for confessions in the basilica, there was a social in the Parish Assembly Room.

Then at 3:45 Fr. Brian Boosel, O.S.B., assistant professor of history at St. Vincent College and a graduate student at Catholic University of America completing his dissertation, gave a presentation about humility, Jansenism, and elitism. Humility, he said, reminds us that we are tied to creation and have a relationship with the earth. Elitism denotes an attitude that is the opposite of humility; elitism proclaims, “I am better than other people.” It is a vice, often connected with legalism. Our Lord encountered elitism in the scribes and Pharisees. For St. Benedict humility was a key virtue. In Chapter 7 of the Rule, St. Benedict encourages the monk to make progress in humility, a humility that is based on listening to other people and on recognizing the dignity of all people. Sometimes, Fr. Brian asserted, elitism can creep into Christian faith, as it did in the 16th and 17th centuries with the Jansenist movement. Fr. Brian described its origins, its spreading, and its ongoing danger. Opposing Jansenism, St. Vincent de Paul emphasized treating every person, especially the poor, as Christ. The “medicine” for spiritual elitism today might be described as praying regularly, welcoming people as Christ, and looking to the example of saints, such as St. Teresa of Calcutta.

After the praying of Vespers with the monks, the day’s events ended with supper and the singing of the Benedictine “Ultima.”