• 31 Dec

    Amid Insurgency, Iraqi Priest is Guardian Angel of Ancient Manuscripts

    Early Aug. 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration, the residents of Qaraqosh woke up to the news that the Kurdish regional forces, known as peshmerga and who had been repelling militant incursions, had packed up and left the city in the dead of night. "The people woke up and realized they had no protection" and they started scrambling to evacuate the city, said Benedictine Fr. Columba Stewart, director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John's Benedictine Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., who has been helping Michaeel with his preservation work since 2009.

  • 31 Dec

    Cold Spring Priest Shares Faith with Sick, Poor, Dying

    COLD SPRING – The Rev. Julius Beckermann speaks slowly, carefully, thoughtfully. But colleagues at Assumption Home and Community in Cold Spring say he brings a warmth and humor to the place. He makes a point of learning all the residents' names. "He's always got a joke to tell," receptionist Alice Jungels said. "And the residents and tenants just love him." "Father Julius has a unique way of being compassionate but also working in humor, brightening anyone's day in the process," said Lindsey Sand, director of community services. "He always has a smile on his face, a story to tell."

  • 31 Dec

    New Tricks from an 'Old Viking': The Art of Nancy Randall at Saint John's Abbey

    Twin Cities artist Nancy Randall takes on life, death and her Norse ancestry in an installation and show at St. John’s Abbey. In a millennium or two, someone may stumble across a Viking helmet half buried in decaying oak leaves on the grounds of St. John’s Abbey at Collegeville, Minn. Then perhaps they will spy another helmet marked with a Celtic knot, a Roman nose plate or a dragon tail. And they may wonder how such warriors arrived at so remote a place. Why did they come? How did they live and die?

  • 31 Dec

    Participants Revel in Autumn at Collegeville Colors

    The family-friendly event drew hundreds to the Saint John's campus to stroll through forests alit with autumn hues. Musicians and artists set up camp at points along the trails to entertain the hikers. Other exhibits were displayed near the campus' soccer fields, along with the traditional delicacy served up at the event: bouja, a sort of stew. "It's a chance to get people outside, experiencing nature," said Tom Kroll, director of Saint John's Outdoor University.

  • 31 Dec

    Columbarium Neighbors Meet at Saint John's to Celebrate Life

    There was an unusual gathering Wednesday afternoon at the Saint John's Alumni and Friends Cemetery. About 25 people got together to celebrate life and meet before they spend eternity as ashes housed within the columbarium niches.

  • 31 Dec

    SJU's Hill Museum & Manuscript Library Updates Space

    Anton Pritula traveled from Russia to Central Minnesota to study ancient Syriac Christian manuscripts. The manuscripts were once thought to be lost and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library is the only place where Pritula can study them. Pritula is one of many academics who travel from across the world to study at the library's archive, which contains more manuscripts than any other library in Europe or North America. Now the museum and library, which is located on the St. John's University campus, has an updated space that will make it more welcoming and accessible to more people.