Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Menology of the month of June

Father John Gabriel Sherry

OCSO 11 June 1968
Fr. Gabriel

Born 21 February 1915
Entered Roscrea 17 September 1933
Solemn Profession 6 October 1938
ordained 8th January 1941.
Co-founded Nunraw 1946
Died 11 June 1968


CF =  Cistercian Fathers Series, Cistercian Publications, Spencer/Kalamazoo.

CS = Cistercian Studies Series, Cistercian Publications, Spencer/Kalamazoo.

Lekai = Lekai, Louis J., The Cistercians, Kent State Press, 1977.

Les Moniales = Bouton, Jean de la Croix, Les Moniales Cisterciennes, Deuxieme Partie, 1987.

MBS = Modern Biographical Sketches of Cistercian Saints and Blessed, by a Monk of Gethsemani, l954 mimeo.
The anonymous author, in retelling the original medieval Lives of our saints, has caught something of their spirit of simplicity and ingenuous charm, while adding background and including some of his own "teachings".
NCE = New Catholic Encyclopedia, McGraw-Hill, New York 1967.


Bernard, Mary and Grace + c. 1180     Achmed was the younger son of a Moorish noble in Catalonia, Spain; his elder brother was named Almazor and his sisters Zaida and Zoraida. He was a skilled diplomat and in this capacity was sent to Barcelona to effect a change of military prisoners. The party lost their way in a wood one night. In the middle of the night, Achmed was awakened by the sound of singing. It was that of the monks of the recently founded abbey of Poblet. He was so impressed that he told his companions to go on without him. He stayed at the abbey, received instructions in the Christian faith, was baptized receiving the name of Bernard, and became a monk. He was appointed cellarer and his generous alms were rewarded with miracles. Concerned for the welfare of his family, he received permission to go to them. He converted an aunt and his two sisters to Christianity, the latter being given the names Mary and Grace. Their elder brother, however, enraged at their conversion, killed Bernard by driving a spike into his forehead and beheaded his sisters.

MBS, p. 160 


Raynald  12th century
Having been a Benedictine at the monastery of St Amandus for twenty years, he went to Clairvaux, and there lived in great simplicity and holiness to a ripe old age. To him is attributed a vision in which he beheld the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, with two other women, visited the monks who were gathering the harvest.

Louis de Estrada + 1581
Superior of the Cistercian college at Alcala, Spain, and abbot of the monastery of Huerta.


Armezana + 1225
Elected abbess of Our Lady of Canas, Spain, in her old age, she governed the house wisely for thirteen years until her death.

Polycarp Jaricot + 1909
A priest of the Congregation of Prado, he entered Tamie. He was prior there for eight years, then for fourteen years chaplain at the convent of the Immaculate Conception in Laval.


Clementine Gorris + 1886
Nun of Oelenberg in Alsace, France. Wishing to live a hidden life, she was observed to live but for one thing and to be totally consumed as a holocaust burning with love for God. She died at three o'clock in the afternoon on the First Friday of the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart.


Fulgerius + 1307
Monk of St Bernard on the Scheldt. For thirty years he was chaplain of the convent of Nazareth. He wrote lives of holy men and women of our Order.

Gonzalo + 1466
Abbot of Acibeiro, Spain.

Joseph-of-St Germanus + 1613
A man of learning and holiness, he was made a consultor of the Sacred Congregations by Pope Paul V, restored regular observance at the monastery of St Cecilia and later entered the Congregation of Feuillants.

Augustin von Zandycke + 1859
The first novice of Mont-des-Cats, he was guest master and infirmarian. Due to gangrene, his arm and leg had to amputated, but he bore the pain and mutilation with great patience and serenity.


St Robert of Newminster + 1159
Born in Yorkshire. After studying in Paris, he returned to England, became a parish priest and then a Benedictine at the abbey of Whitby. In 1132 he joined the monks of St Mary's, York, and participated with them in the founding of Fountains. Seven years later he founded New Minster near Morpeth, Northumberland and became its first abbot. Under his administration, the house prospered so much that it was able to establish three daughterhouses: Pipewell, Roche and Sawley.  Robert wrote a commentary on the Psalms and a book of meditations no longer extant. He "was strict with himself, kind and merciful to others, learned and yet simple."

MBS, p. 162; NCE, vol. 12, p. 534

Urraca + 1262
Second abbess of Our Lady of Canas, Calahorra  Spain.

Dositheus le Roy + 1695
Monk of La Trappe. God seemed to be his very breath, for he had regard for nothing apart from God.


William + 1209
Novice master of Melrose, Scotland, he became abbot first of Cupar, and then four years before his death, abbot of Melrose.

Bernard Barnouin + 1888    
A French diocesan priest, he became superior of a group of "farming brethren" and with them restored monastic life at the ancient abbey of Senanque near Avignon in 1855. Within a short time, he revived three other abandoned monasteries, among them that of Lerins, which became the headquarters of the whole Congregation of Senanque. Affiliated to the Common Observance, it retained a life of purely contemplative character.

Lekai, p. 194 


John  12th century
Prior of Clairvaux, he fulfilled the office entrusted to him with diligence, discretion and prudence; he was kind and full of charity for his brethren.


Everard von Rohrdorf  1160-1245
Abbot of Salem, Germany, he governed his monastery for nearly fifty years, and made it flourish as no one before or after him did. Pope Innocent III employed his services on various missions.

Alan Adam + 1709
Lay-brother and porter at Grussau, Silesia, he was known throughout the district for his charity to the poor.


Placid of Rodi + 1248
As a child he was a poor shepherd. He loved to sing praise to God and when he learned to read, the Psalms became his constant prayer. He lived an eremetical, austere life for many years. Later when disciples came to him, he formed at Ocra a community which he named the Monastery of the Holy Spirit because of his great devotion to the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He then went to the abbey of Casa Nova and affiliated his house to the Cistercians.

MBS, p. 170

Gabriel Sherry, OCSO 11/6/68 -53, Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw.

St Aleydis (Alice) of Schaerbeek  c. 1215-1250  
                 Alice was brought to the convent of La Cambre, near Brussels, Belgium, at seven to be educated, and later was professed as a nun. Sometime afterward, she was found to have contracted leprosy and was isolated from her community. Her first night in her leper's hut was one of real anguish and crisis for her, but seeking consolation from Christ, she began to realize that she had received a new vocation: to be identified with the Suffering Servant, with him whom "we thought of as a leper, as one struck by God." In her isolation, her love of God and of all humanity deepened, and she learned to accept each new pain as a gift from God.  Toward the end of her life, no part of her body was without suffering except her tongue, and with it for as long as she was able, she chanted the praises of God.  On the feast of St Barnabas in 1250, she commended herself to God and the following morning just at dawn, as if taking her rest, she breathed forth her soul.

Life, translated by Martinus Cawley  


Abraham  12th century
Abbot of La Pree, endowed with great meekness and delicacy of conscience.

M Augustine de Chabanne + 1844
Professed at St Antoine des Champs, Paris, in 1787, she was thrown into prison during the Reign of Terror and was on the point of being guillotined; but with the fall of Robespierre, she was released. She fled to Switzerland to the convent of La Sainte Volonte de Dieu. Dom Augustin de Lestrange esteemed her spirit of regularity and all-round competence and made her superior there. She and the other nuns took part in the monks' travels to Russia and finally came to England in 1801. Lord Arundel gave them part of his estate in Dorset and Mother Augustine became the foundress of Holy Cross Abbey, Stapehill. She governed it for forty-two years in great poverty and labor, but also with a great spirit of sacrifice and penance.


A group of Knights Templars, fighting for the faith according to the statutes of St Bernard, was captured and slain by the Mohammedan Sultan at the stronghold of Jacob's Ford.

Bl Gerard  12th century     
              The second oldest of St Bernard's brothers, Gerard was a knight and soldier. When he refused to follow his brother to Citeaux, the latter foretold that he would be wounded in battle and imprisoned, and so it happened. In prison, he came to his senses, and having been set free, miraculously according to the Life of St Bernard, he became a monk and with his brothers went to Clairvaux, where he was cellarer. He was a capable administrator and also a wise counsellor to Bernard.  He received those who came to the monastery and when possible, took care of their business, so as to spare his abbot from being interrupted unnecessarily in his prayer and writing.
On his last night on earth, he began to pray, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."  Suddenly his face became transfigured and he kept repeating, "Father, Father," as though the full realization of what it means that God is our Father had dawned upon him.
St Bernard, having restrained his grief at Gerard's funeral, gave eloquent voice to it in his twenty-sixth Sermon on the Canticle.

MBS, p. 41

Marie-Joseph Matton + 1775
At the age of forty-two he became a monk of Le Gard. He was sent to the new house of Mont-des-Cats and later made chaplain of Soleilmont. He afterwards returned to Le Gard and was appointed subprior, which office he retained when the community transferred to Sept-Fons. He had about him an admirable dignity and affability, innocence and gentleness.


Mary Reiff  1587-1615
Nun at La Maigrauge, Switzerland.

Eugene Bonhomme de la Prade  1766-1816
As a young nobleman he belonged to Louis XVI's royal regiment. He entered La Trappe and was a novice in 1791 when the monks went into exile. At La Val Sainte he was professed and made novice sub-master. Two years later Dom Lestrange sent him with two companions to found a house in Canada. However, due to political conditions, they were stranded at Amsterdam, settled for a time at what later became Westmalle, then went to Darfeld in Westphalia. Here he abandoned the regulations of Lestrange and returned to those of de Rance. When in 1814 France again became open to religious, he acquired the abbey of La Trappe and two years later Notre-Dame des Gardes, where he settled part of the Darfeld community. Seeking a home for the other part, he succumbed to his infirmities at a Trappistine convent near Liege.


St Lutgarde  1182-1246   
           Born of bourgeois parents in Tongres, Belgium, Lutgarde's father had planned a marriage for his daughter, but when the money invested for her dowry was lost, her mother persuaded her to enter the Benedictine convent of St Trond, where she was elected prioress in 1205. Seeking more solitude and a stricter observance, she transferred to the Cistercian convent of Aywieres.  The Passion of Christ was the center of her religious life. There took place between Christ and Lutgarde a mystical change of hearts. In her 29th year, she received the spear wound and carried the scar to her death. The ideal of vicarious suffering in reparation for sin was highly developed in her spirituality. She undertook, at Our Lady's request, three seven-year fasts, in reparation for the Albigensian heresy. She was also sought by many, including abbots and Dominican friars, for the help of her counsel and intercessory prayers.
Eleven years before her death, she became blind.  During the last year of her life Christ asked three things of her: to offer thanks for all the benefits she had received; to pour herself out in prayer for sinners; to be without solicitude but full of longing.

Life by Thomas of Cantimpre, trans. by Martinus Cawley; NCE, vol. 8, p. 1085; Thomas Merton What Are These Wounds?
Marie of the Incarnation de la Tour d'Auvergne + 1911
Nun of Laval. Devoted to Therese of Lisieux, she strove to imitate her virtue and relied on her intercession in all her needs.


St Teresa  1178-1250
The oldest daughter of King Sancho of Portugal, she and her sisters Sancha (March 13) and Mafalda (May 2), were given a pious upbringing and also taught practical skills of sewing, cooking and spinning. Teresa's special virtue was self-custody or discretion. When she was thirteen a political marriage was arranged for her with King Alphonso IX of Leon. Five years later the marriage was dissolved on the grounds of consanguinity. Teresa and her three children returned to the palace of Coimbra, where she led a secluded life and helped care for her younger brothers and sisters. At the former Benedictine monastery of Lorvao she established a Cistercian convent and lived there as a family sister until at the age of fifty-one, finally freed from family responsibilities, she made profession as a nun. She served the community as cellarer and portress. She was devoted to manual labor, choir, prayer and all the austerities of the Order.  One of her favorite practices was to meditate on the prayers for the dying and the rites of Extreme Unction and burial in preparation for her own death. This took place in church while her sisters were singing the Magnificat and had reached the verse, "He has received Israel, his servant."

MBS, p. 183

Marie-Joseph Cassant  1878-1903   
             As a child, he was deeply impressed by the ceremonies of the liturgy and greatly desired to become a priest. As he had no aptitude for studies, he, upon the advice of his pastor, entered the monastery of Our Lady of the Desert. Physically weak and lacking the ability for work, he was prone to temptations to sadness and discouragement; but with the support of prayer and obedience, he overcame them and was never wanting in courage, always with a smile on his face.  He rejoiced in the accomplishment of Jesus' will alone; he wished to have Jesus ever present to him and living within him. He died at the age of twenty-five after much suffering. His cause for beatification has been introduced at Rome.


Commemoration of the abbots, monks and lay-brothers who were put to death in Germany and Poland during the wars of religion of the 17th century.


Macarius D'Incamps  1727-1794
Guestmaster at Sept-Fons. After the French Revolution, he remained in his country, was betrayed, arrested and sent to the pontoons at Rochefort. He was put on a ship to be taken to Guiana, but succumbed to the harsh and injurious treatment he received and died on shipboard.

Francis of Assisi Couturier + 1854
A priest of St Sulpice, he became a monk of Port du Salut and shortly afterwards was elected abbot. Due to his outstanding prudence, the monastery remained unaffected by the political disturbances of 1830. When dying, Dom Francis consoled his brethren by telling them that they would never be expelled from their monastery. This came true in an almost miraculous way in 1870, 1880, 1940 and 1945.


Constantius  12th century
On his way to see Count Theobald, St Bernard saw a man being led to execution. He took the thong with which the poor wretch was tied and said to the executioners, "Let me have this murderer, for I wish to hang him with my own hands." Constantius became a monk at Clairvaux and, under St Bernard's guidance, made atonement for his sins by obedience and penance for thirty years.

Michael Triquier + 1550   
            Monk of Fontaine-Daniel, he was appointed prior of Vaux de Cernay and later performed the same office at his own monastery, meanwhile undertaking the reform of several other houses of both monks and nuns.


John of Kempton + 1350
As a boy he had fallen from the top of a tower and was believed dead. His parents promised St John the Baptist that if their son was restored to life, they would make an offering of him at his monastery, St John of Stams, Tyrol. Their prayer was heard and the boy returned to life. He became a priest and later a monk at Stams, outstanding for his holiness and contemplation.

Arsenius de Janson + 1710
Monk of La Trappe, he was sent with others to found the monastery of Buon Solazzo in Tuscany. Noted for his humility and kindness to others.

Maur Standaert 1915-1995
Born in Brussels, he earned a licenciate at the seminary in Louvain, and then entered Scourmont at the age of 20. Hving made solemn profession, he returned to Louvain for a doctorate in theology. He was prior of Scourmont from 1949 to 1993. In 1967 he was asked to serve as interim chaplain to the nuns of Clarte-Dieu in the Belgian Congo (now Zaire), but his health obliged him to return to Belgium after a few months.
Throughout his monastic life, he used his gifts in the fields of liturgy, law, formation and ecumenism, for the good of the Order and the Church. He was on the board of directors of Collectanea for many years, and alwo helped launch Cistercian Studies Quarterly.


Arnold de Compte
Lay-brother at Villers, miller at one of the granges, he was a wise and gentle counsellor to many persons.

Bernard de Girmont + 1834   
         Master of novices at Morimond, he was expelled from his monastery during the French Revolution. He joined the monks at Darfeld, where he was master of the lay-brothers. Later he acquired a monastery of the Canons of St Genevieve which became the abbey of Port du Salut, and a port of safety for many. He also built the convent of St Catherine's, Laval. He resigned as abbot in 1830, and lived four years longer, patiently bearing the infirmities of old age and blindness.


Peter + c. 1136
Born in England. As a young man he went to France, where he became friends with the young Stephen Harding. Together they made a pilgrimage to Rome, reciting the Psalter together daily. Upon returning to France, they both entered the monastery of Molesme. Peter later became the spiritual father of the nuns of Jully, including St Bernard's sister Humbeline.

Three monks of Villers who lived in the 12th century:
Boniface, the prior, William of Dongelberg, and
Henry of Geest.

A lay-brother of Himmerod, Germany, he was devoted to the Mother of God with childlike simplicity.


Giacomo da Pecorara + 1244
Brought up in Pracinzo, he entered Clairvaux in 1215. He was elected abbot of Trois-Fontaines in 1231 and made a cardinal by Gregory IX. He then became a leader in the Church's struggle with Emperor Frederick II, was taken prisoner by Frederick's sons and, finally set at liberty, he was appointed Vicar of Rome by Innocent IV.

Dorotheus Carret + 1685
Monk of La Trappe.  When he entered the monastery he took the firm resolution to give himself entirely to the possession and dominion of Christ. Stricken with illness, he drew all his strength and solace from the contemplation of the crucifix.


Bartholomew de Vir + 1158
Bishop of Laon, friend of Sts Bernard and Norbert, he built Cistercian and Premonstratensian monasteries in his diocese. Among the latter was Premontre, and among the former, Foigny. In his old age he resigned his bishopric and became a monk.

Ruandus + 1177
Abbot of Lanvaux in Brittany, he was made bishop of Vannes.

The abbot and lay-brothers of Eaunes, Carcassonne, France, were killed by Albigensians in the 12th century.

John Boyng + c. 1433
Having reformed his own monastery, Termunten, in Friesland, John restored regular discipline at Ihlo and Bloemkamp, and then returned to Termunten. The General Chapter appointed him visitor in Friesland and later the province of Cologne, and he was instrumental in helping several other monasteries to reform. He persuaded the monks of the new monastery of Sibculo to adopt the Cistercian observances, and this house became the nucleus of the Sibculo League. Lastly he was appointed nuncio to the Council of Basle.

Alan + 1236
Founder and first abbot of Balmerino, Scotland.

Nun of Noven, Germany.

Peter Klausener + 1850
Monk of the Darfeld community under Dom Eugene de la Prade who highly esteemed him for his magnanimity, humility and meekness. He later acquired the ancient monastery of Oelenberg in Alsace and became abbot there, governing the house with charity and courage. Confined to a chair by sickness during the last two years of his life, his favorite prayer was, "O Mary, Mother of Grace, Mother of Mercy! From our foe defend us; at death's hour receive us."


Peter I or Peter the Elder  + 1140
Third abbot of La Ferte, he was chosen archbishop of Tarentaise in 1124, the first Cistercian to be promoted to the episcopate. Among his many initiatives, he was instrumental in founding the abbey of Tamie, whose first abbot, named Peter, was also to govern the archdiocese of Tarentaise.

Mencia of St Joseph  + 1626
Abbess of the convent of the Incarnation, Cordova in Spain.


St Adolph + 1224    A son of the count of Tecklenberg, Westphalia, he became a canon at Cologne. Having visited the Cistercian monastery of Camp, he was so impressed by what he saw and heard that he became a monk there. In 1216 he was elected bishop of Osnabruck. He was outstanding in his love for the poor and his charity toward them, as well as his support, both financial and spiritual, of many religious houses.

MBS, p. 50

Bl Arnulf 1180-1228
Born at Brussels, he became a lay-brother at Villers. His special grace was to live in extraordinary austerity. He also possessed a great zeal for souls and generosity towards the poor. At times he was seized with such exuberant joy that he could hardly contain himself. He was especially devoted to the seven joys of Our Lady on earth and her seven joys in heaven. He died on a Friday, kneeling and supported by his brethren.

MBS, p. 187