A History of Apostolic Service
Monasticism functions as one of the oldest traditions in the Church, with several chapters in its history. For the monks of St. Benedict's Abbey, our epoch of monastic life issues from a frontier experience in ante-bellum Kansas with the immigrant German population. It is from this soil amidst a neglected population in need of pastoral care that our community developed. From the establishment of schools in Germany in the eighth century, to the service to the German immigrants in Pennsylvania, to our continued pastoral and educational works in Kansas, monks of our congregation have been dedicated to apostolic service. It is from this rich tradition that our Abbey received its charism – a dynamic fusion of monastic observance and apostolic service. Click here for a full history of St. Benedict's Abbey.
Monastic Life and Apostolic Work Today
A trajectory of apostolic service within the monastic tradition was set for the monks of St. Benedict's Abbey over 150 years ago, at the beginning of this installment of Western monasticism. This mission of pastoral care to a broken world is as relevant today as it was in the mid 19th century, when Archabbot Boniface Wimmer brought the Benedictine order over to America, to the frontier of civilization. Pope Francis and Pope Benedict have echoed Pope John Paul the Great's call for a "New Evanglization." The monks of St. Benedict's Abbey take pride in playing a part in that mandate. Always striving to increase in faithfulness to the monastic charism, they offer significant ministry and service in their main apostolates.
For over 150 years monks have served at Benedictine as teachers, administrators, confessors, spiritual directors, coaches, dorm prefects, deans, advisors, counselors, and chaplains. That legacy continues today as the monks share a campus with the exemplary Catholic university, Benedictine College. The heart of sacramental ministry and spiritual formation of Benedictine College is the Abbey community, which provides priestly care for the college community and collaborates with the phenomenal College Ministry department.
Maur Hill-Mount Academy
Once a high school seminary, Maur Hill Mount Academy educates students in an environment that encourages the young people to “Live the Faith, Pursue Truth, Strive for Excellence.” The monks serve as teachers and chaplains at Maur Hill, as well as sitting on the Board of Directors and providing direction to the school mission. Maur Hill has enjoyed success in recruiting and a revival of its Catholic identity in recent years.
St. Benedict Parish
St. Benedict's Abbey has a long and noble tradition of offering monks as pastors to the Northeastern quarter of Kansas. In the past, dozens of monks could be filling in parishes that would otherwise lack pastoral care. Today, the monks focus their parochial ministry at St. Benedict Parish, located on the edge of the Benedictine College campus. The Atchison Catholic community is thriving and abundant and the monks have the privilege of providing them pastoral care.
Abbot James Albers, ninth abbot of St. Benedict's Abbey, took the abbatial motto Currite vitae luminae, "Run with the light of life" when he was elected on December 28th, 2012. As their Father in Christ, he has encouraged the monks to be faithful to the wonderful tradition of living an authentic monastic life that embraces apostolic service.