MFP 2003: Review of the Program
We gathered for the 2003 Program with a new home in Rome with the Teresian Sisters, who welcomed us with great warmth and kindness. The guesthouse proved ideal for our life together for 3 months of the course. This year the group was 27 in number, again with a great mix of nationalities that made it culturally enriching for us all
As in the pervious year, a key focus of the Programme was the attention given to the monastic sources. Each of the participants themselves gave a presentation on a key monastic author or text such as St Basil, John Cassian and Augustine. Going back to the roots of the tradition meant we could bring into the dialogue this great monastic wisdom with our own lived experiences of the monastic life.
Outside of the classroom we were able to visit the important religious sites of Rome, and participate in the Papal liturgies at St Peter's. This year over the Easter Triduum we able to celebrate both with the Holy Father and also at the Venerable English College where we were made particularly welcome.
We had some new contributors to course this year. The presence of Sr Mary Thomas Prado on the staff helped to ensure the smooth running of the course. She also contributed to the teaching. Gregroy Collins OSB, a monk of Glenstal who is based at Sant Anselmo led us through the paschal triduum reflecting on how our monastic life has its source and centre in this mystery of our Lord's death and resurrection. On the pastoral and psychological side Fr Selvam OMI, who is from Sri Lanka dealt with issues of human growth and development, and Prior Bernardo Bonowitz OCSO from Brazil picked this up from the standpoint of spiritual direction, but gave so much more besides. Mother Nichola Proksch OSB from Minster Abbey, in England helped our reflection on community life and commitment today while Br Colmon from Glenstal in Ireland gave a systematic overview of monastic history.
Italy with its historical connections is a very special place to be for followers of the Rule of St Benedict. We were also able to visit those places particularly associated with the St Benedict's life and come to a deeper understanding of the Rule from the physical context of the landscape with all the marks of history upon it. It is what St Aquinata calls "Earthing Benedict." We received a warm and gracious welcome at Monte Cassino where we celebrated Mass in St Benedict's Tower. We stayed with the Benedictine Sisters at Norcia, where Mother Abbess spoke of life of the particularities of living the monastic life in the town associated with Benedict and Scholastica's birth. We ended the program with a retreat at Subiaco led by Abbot Paul Stonham. To visit the two monasteries in this valley was a real highpoint on which to bring the 2003 Program to its conclusion. We renwed our vows and sang the "Suscipe" (the profession chant of monks and nuns - Sustain me O Lord...and I shall live) at the place where it St Benedict began his monastic journey. Fr Brendan Thomas OSB, Director
MFP 2003: Views from the Participants
I would not hesitate to highly recommend the MFP to men and women preparing to assume the role of formators as a profound and essential experience. The quality of content and wisdom shared out of lived experience by masters of the monastic tradition moved and inspired me, giving me confidence for the task ahead. The experience filled up gaps in my own formation and offered valuable tools and methods for communicating the tradition. The Program leads to personal renewal, offers valued interaction with a diverse group of monastics and a unique experience of community life and lifelong friendships. Dont miss it! Sr Colleen Leonard, sgs Victoria, Australia
was a feast of riches for the mind and heart! Living, working and praying
with Benedictine women and men of different cultures and flavours
brought me to a deeper love of my vocation and a fuller vision of formation
work. I feel very blessed.
highly recommend the program because it has enriched me so much with the
input and sharing of each others experiences. It has broadened my
understanding of the monastic life, and I appreciate more the monastic
tradition and my own vocation.
Program is really necessary. It helps the formators to renew themselves
in the knowledge of the monastic tradition, to learn how to transmit it
and to even discover some mistakes they have been doing without knowing.
international group of formators was a very positive experience both from
the standpoint of learning valuable inform-
2003 has blessed me with deeper convictions, better understanding of the
monastic tradition and introduced me to a wider monastic world. It challenged
my role as a formator, encouraged me for this sacred task, empowered me
with grace and confidence. I pray with gratitude, love and joy for all
who made this possible for me.
whole Programme is about spiritual transformation and renewal. I am happy
I am going home renewed.
most encouraging and rewarding experience: really helpful for our formation
work and greatly enriching for my personal renewal.
formators course helps us acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to
make us effective formators. It instills in us a deep appreciation of
the Rule and gives us a love of the early Fathers of the Church.
highly recommend this Program because most formators are appointed to
their task without a solid base and background of this nature, therefore
finding themselves at a loss in executing a well-balanced formation Programme:
something I have personally gained. It was a revolution for me - spiritually,
psychologically, socially and monastically rejuvinated!
Monastic Formators Programme enabled me to understand monasticism
as a culture, not just the practice of a particular monastery. It enabled
me to take stock of my vocation and recentre it on a biblical spirituality,
making more sense of liturgy and lectio.
course gives a true sense of community life. It broadens the mind. It
is worth experiencing!
God works through individuals, so the better the formators is prepared the more he or she can help those in formation. The MFP is especially designed for formators in the Benedictine tradition. Through it we can prepare ourselves not just as formators but as Benedictine Formators. Sr Marie Song-Mun Lee OSB, Daegu, Korea