Monastic: March 2007 Archives

Ciao, Paolo!

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Paul Zalonksi of New Haven, Connecticut recently finished a month long experience of monastic life at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. While here he helped prepare the Mass booklet for Laetare Sunday and accompanied a group of us to the Curia Generalizia where we sang for the ordination to the diaconate of two monks from the Cistercian Abbey of Szczyrzyc in Poland. The ordaining bishop was Cardinal Franc Rode. The Abbot General Dom Mauro Esteva, O.Cist. concelebrated.

Monastic Etiquette

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Maria Elena Vidal will love this. I decided to write something about monastic forms of address and etiquette. There has been a fair amount of confusion over my use of the title Don. It is not the short form of Donald. The same confusion arises with the title Dom used by English and French–speaking monks; it is not the short form of Dominic. A number of folks think that Don is my Christian name and Marco my surname! In my monastic community in Rome and among my Italian relatives and friends I am known and addressed as Don Marco; in the United States people call me Father Mark or, to use my two Christian names, Father Mark Daniel.

Don and Dom

Cistercian–Benedictines in Italy, as well as other Benedictines and Carthusians, are usually addressed as Don. The same title is given to secular priests in Italy. In other countries monks (and some Canons Regular) use the form Dom, but it means the same thing. The title derives from the Latin Domnus, a form of Dominus, and passed into Italian use under Spanish influence. It is perhaps best translated as Messer or as Sir. It expresses respect. In Southern Italy the title is also given to men of some social standing and to those of noble background. The title Donna, meaning Lady, is still given in Italy to Cistercian and Benedictine nuns; it is also the correct form of address for women of noble background, especially in Southern Italy.

Rule of Saint Benedict

The Rule of Saint Benedict orders that no one is to be addressed by his Christian or monastic name alone. "Even in the manner of addressing one another, let no one presume to call another simply by his name. The seniors are to address their juniors as Fratelli, and the juniors are to address the seniors as Nonni, which means "Your Paternal Reverence" (RB 63). In practice, all solemnly professed priest monks came to be addressed as Don, while novices and juniors were called Fratello. In a few monasteries the title Nonnus, meaning Reverend Father Elder, is still used on formal occasions or in documents.

Cistercian Martyrs of England

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I was deeply moved when the martyrology for today, March 8th, was read in Chapter. Hearing the names of these English Cistercian martyrs read out here in Rome was a truly Catholic Moment.

From the Romano–Cistercian Martyrology:

In England, in the sixteenth century, the passion of a number of Cistercian monks cruelly put to death for different pretexts by order of King Henry VIII.

In the months of March and May 1537, died for the Catholic faith:

— the Lord Abbot of Kirkstead, Dom John Harrison and his brethren Dom Richard Wade, Dom William Small, and Dom Henry Jenkinson;

— the Lord Abbot of Whalley, Dom John Paslew and his brethren, Dom William Haydock and Dom Richard Eastgate.

Also died: the Lord Abbot of Fountains and a monk of Louth Park.

In the following year 1538, were martyred:

— the Lord Abbot of Woburn, Dom Robert Hobbes and the monks Dom Rudolph Barnes and Dom Laurence Blunham.

Recognized as authentic confessors of the faith:

Dom Thomas Mudd, monk of Jervaulx, who died on September 7, 1583;
Dom John Almond, who died on April 18, 1585,
and Dom Gilbert Browne, the last Abbot of Sweet Heart (Dulce Cor), who died on March 14, 1612.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory