Sunday at the Abbey Archived Files





October 16, Peggy Roske

PRoske.jpgFaith, Civilization & Education: Establishing a Benedictine Culture on the Frontier

150 years ago this year the monks dedicated their first building on the shores of beautiful Lake Sagatagan and established “Saint Louis on the Lake.”  These pioneers, motivated by faith, set out to serve and to educate.  Learn about the earliest years of Benedictinism in Minnesota, when they laid the foundation – literally and metaphorically—for this place now called Saint John’s.

Peggy Landwehr Roske grew up in St. Cloud on the edge of what was once the Rothkopf claim. She was in the last class from St. Ben's High School ('73), graduated from CSB ('77), and received her Master's at UW-Madison. She served CSB/SJU as a reference librarian for 25 years, and has been the CSB/SJU Archivist for the last 10 years. Like the Benedictines', her family's roots are also deep in Stearns County and stretch back to Bavaria.

November 13, Annette Atkins

photo_of_ama.jpegThe Abbey Comes to Indian Bush

Benedictines moved out from Saint Cloud in 1856.  They went with such hopes and faith.  They met an unfamiliar landscape with a past they didn't know and a future that they couldn't quite imagine.  In this talk we'll explore these early years of the Saint John's Abbey community.


January 22, Br. Robin Pierzina


Vision and Values: A Design History of Saint John’s

Even before Saint John's Abbey was founded, Abbot Boniface Wimmer expressed a commitment "to have our monasteries [be] nurseries of the fine arts." Since Saint John's humble beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century, the arts have animated and formed the lives, lifestyle, and vision of the monastic community. During this Sunday at the Abbey presentation, through commentary and eye-statements Brother Robin will trace the history of Saint John's through the lens of design and architecture, drawing on the work and stewardship of the Campus Planning and Design Committee.

Br. Robin Pierzina, O.S.B., a graduate of Saint John’s University, professed vows as a Benedictine monk in 1977.  For thirty-one years he was an editor at Liturgical Press.  Since 2011 he has been the editor of Abbey Banner, magazine of Saint John’s Abbey.  He has also served as the chair of Saint John’s Design Committee (now Campus Planning and Design Committee) since 1984.


February 26, Tom Kroll

tom.jpgThe land, the forest and the place of agriculture at Saint John’s.

Tom Kroll will speak about the acquisition of acreage with a focus on the shift that has occurred in the past 50 years; the sale of the farm, the reclamation of wetlands, and attention to the hardwood forest.

March 19, Gary Jorgensen, Tom Vogel

Gary_J.jpgTom_V.jpgSaint John’s Energy Evolution: A look at changes in Saint John’s energy production and use across the span of 150 years on this site

Tom Vogel has worked at the Saint John's Power House in various positions since 1981. He currently serves as the Chief Operating Engineer, overseeing a staff of 6. Mr. Vogel's years of service make him a phenomenal resource on the Power House's "energy evolution" and a wonderful storyteller with firsthand knowledge of the changes that have occurred over the years – including the challenges faced and the progress made.

Gary Jorgensen has worked at Saint John’s since 1986 and has served as Physical Plant Director since December 2014. Prior to being appointed Physical Plant Director, Mr. Jorgensen served as Building and Facilities Manager for 7 years, where he managed the electrical, HVAC, carpentry, paint, and plumbing trades and gained an extensive knowledge of the campus’ building systems and infrastructure. Gary’s experience provides much insight into the operations of the Power House and the campus’ utility distribution system.


2015-2016 Sunday at the Abbey Series


October 18

Father Michael Patella

For his mercy endures foreverA scriptural read of divine justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation

November 8

Father Columba Stewart 

Do Not Crush the Bruised ReedMercy in the Rule of Benedict

December 6 

Music from the Monks

An in­stru­men­tal and vocal concert featuring the newly restored Laukuff Pipe Organ in the Saint Benedict Chapel


January 24

Father Dan Ward

The Church and Its Law: A Dispenser of Mercy or a Community of Mercy?

February 21 

Father Luke Mancuso 

Picturing PardonMessing with Mercy in Film Narratives

April 3

Dr. Dick Andzenge 

A Second Chance?  The Place of Mercy in our Society 


2014-2015 Sunday at the Abbey Series

November 16        

Mr. John Thavis 
"The Francis Effect: Are the Bishops on Board?"

January 25 
Sister Michaela Hedican, OSB and Abbot John Klassen, OSB
"What Monastic People Bring to the Future Church: The Place of the Prophetic"

March 15 
Father Jerome Tupa, OSB
"The path of a Monk - The Path of an Artist"

April 12    

Dr. Kathleen Cahalan
"The Grammar of Vocation: Changing the Ways We Talk about Our Callings"


January 30, 2011
7:00 P.M. Abbey Chapter House
Noreen Herzfeld: "And the Word Became Text: The Qu'ran and Its Role in Islam"
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December 12 2010, Chapter House
Fr. Nathanael Hauser, OSB: InSense: Iconography in a Literal World. 
Fr. Nathanael Hauser, OSB is a monk of Saint John's Abbey and has been writing icons since 1978.
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November 14 2010, Chapter House
Fr. Wilfred Theisen, OSB: Is the Catholic Church Ready for Blessed Newman? 
Fr. Wilfred taught many years in the Physics Department. He is now retired, but keeps very busy.
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October 2010, Chapter House 
John Bede Pauley 
John Bede is a monk of St. John's Abbey and teaches in the music department.
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April 18, Chapter House
April 18, John Gagliardi: "Football at St. John's" 
John is the long-time football coach here at St. John's and has the most wins in college football.
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March 14, Chapter House
Kathryn Casper, OSB: "Wisdom from the Tradition: The Rule of Benedict for Everyday Life."
Kathryn Casper, OSB, St. Benedict' Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota, currently works at the Spirituality Center of the monastery where she engages in spiritual direction, retreat work, and a variety of workshops and presentations.
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21 February
Daniel Finn: "Catholic Social thought and Economic Life Today." 
Daniel Finn is Professor of Moral Theology and William E. and Virginia Clemens Professor of Economics and the Liberal Arts at St. John's.
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16 January
Fr. Wilfred Theisen: "Darwin's Origin - Theology or Science?" 
Fr. Wilfred Theisen, OSB, graduated from Saint John's University in 1952. He has his MS in physics from the University of Colorado, and a PhD in history of science from the University of Wisconsin.
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6 December
Bill Doherty: "Reclaiming Time for Family and Community." 
William J. Doherty, professor and director, Citizen Professional Center, Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul. Dr. Doherty is the author of Take Back Your Kids: Confident Parenting in Turbulent Times, and The Intentional Family.
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18 October
Richard Bresnahan: "Making Pottery and Practicing Environmental Sustainability." 
Richard graduated from SJU in 1976. He spent four years in Japan as an apprentice with the Nakazato family, who have crafted pottery for 13 generations and are a Japanese "national living treasure family." Richard excites interest in sustainable living among students with his course, "Environmental Art & Aesthetics."

Artist in Residence and Director of Saint John's Pottery Program since 1980.
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19 April
Sister Carol Berg, OSB: "Crossing Cultural Boundaries: Benedictines at White Earth and Red Lake"
Sister Carol Berg OSB will present an overview on the interaction -- both the cooperation and the clashing -- between the Benedictines and Ojibwe in these two Native American communities in Minnesota. Dr. Berg will assess how the similarities and differences of the two cultures affected relations between them. In 1981 the University of Minnesota awarded Sister Carol the doctorate in U.S. History. She taught at the College of Saint Benedict from 1969 to 1979 and again from 1981 to 2006, when she retired in May.
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15 March
Dr. David Owen Kieft: "Dom Virgil Michel (1890-1938), Educator" 
Dr. David Owen Kieft was visiting associate professor of history at Saint John's University in 1974 and 1975. He is associate professor emeritus of history at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kieft is a member of Assumption Parish, St. Paul, home parish of Dom Virgil Michel OSB, his parents, and his 14 siblings. Dr. Kieft is an Oblate of Saint John's Abbey. 
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15 February
Rev. Dr. Michael Wyatt: "From Pain to Hope"
The Rev. Dr. Michael Wyatt was the priest at St. John's Episcopal Church in Saint Cloud and a canon of the national cathedral, Washington, DC. He has worked with the topic of 12-Step Spirituality for over two decades, writing his dissertation at Emory on the theological validity for the claims about God made in the texts of Alcoholics Anonymous. In this talk, he considers how powerlessness is experienced on physical, psychological, and spiritual levels and the "way through" offered by 12-Step programs.
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25 January
Father Timothy Backous OSB: "Self-deception in Flannery O'Connor"
Father Timothy Backous OSB is the President of Saint John's Preparatory School. He has been a monk of Saint John's Abbey since 1979. He studied under Rev. Bernard Häring CSsR and Nella Filippi who directed his STD thesis on Flannery O'Connor at the Alphonsianum in 1989. Prof. Filippi used literature as the springboard for moral reflection and analysis. In his presentation, Fr. Tim uses the writings of Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964) to discuss and explore the problem of self-deception which, O'Connor claims, is the Achilles' heel of any human being when he or she confronts the reality of God. 
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7 December
Father Cyprian Weaver OSB: "The Hope and Promise of Adult Stem Cell Research"(headphones recommended)
Father Cyprian Weaver OSB is the Director and Head of the Histopathology Core Laboratory Facility at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Fr. Cyprian continues his research in diabetes, making great progress using mature stem cells to foster pancreatic regeneration.
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16 November
Annette Atkins: "I Wonder As I Wander through the Past: Minnesota and Saint John's at 150."
Professor Annette Atkins serves as the head of the division of humanities at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. She is the author of Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out and We Grew Up Together: Brothers and Sisters in 19th-Century America.
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12 October
Dr. Bernard F. Evans: "What Does It Mean to Vote Catholic?"
Dr. Bernard F. Evans, author of Vote Catholic?, takes us to the heart of Catholic social teaching and shows how this teaching can inform Catholics as they wrestle with political choices. He is an associate professor at Saint John's University where he occupies the Virgil Michel Ecumenical Chair in Rural Social Ministries. By special arrangement with Liturgical Press, copies of his book will be available at a reduced price.
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September 7
Father Columba Stewart OSB: "Is 'Traditional' Monastic Culture Possible in the 21st Century?" (headphones recommended)
Father Columba Stewart OSB, SJU Vice-President for Culture and Religion, and Director of Hill Museum and Monastic Manuscript Library, is a world expert on Cassian, an important influence on the monastic thought and practice of Saint Benedict.
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March 9
Father Hilary Thimmesh OSB: "Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: the Parson and the Friar; the Monk and the Prioress" - flawed monasticism, religious ideals, and the good life.
Father Hilary Thimmesh OSB, Professor of English, President Emeritus, examines the monastic and clerical figures Chaucer introduces to us in the "General Prolog."
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October 19
Father Jerome Coller OSB: "Modern Hymnody."
Father Jerome Coller OSB, composer, musician, and teacher, looks at contemporary church music: "21st Century Hymns: One Composer's View" and asks "Can We Create a Legacy?"

According to Fr. Jerome, music liturgists at Saint John's Abbey seek to assure inspiring worship for monks and visitors by focusing on hymns that have structural integrity and give meaning to contemporary theological and communal experience. "Without starting a new school or movement, and with only modest expectations, I am confident we can pass on a respectable and engaging body of hymns."
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