There are several elements to the rite of solemn monastic profession. The rite itself takes place at mass. It begins following the homily and ends just before the offertory. The abbot presides. I’m including photos of Brother Stephen’s recent ceremony to illustrate the various elements.
Homily and Instruction
Abbot Mark delivers the homily and instruction
Litany of the Saints
Bro. Stephen lies prostrate as the cantor sings the Litany of the Saints
Bro. Stephen reads out the solemn vows formula in the presence of Abbot Mark and the monastic community
“Uphold me Lord according to your promise and I shall live. Let my hope in you not be in vain.”
Brother Stephen sings the words of the Suscipe three times. This is followed by the Abbot’s prayer of consecration.
Abbot Mark vests Bro. Stephen in the cuculla, the sign of solemn monastic profession.
The Sign of Peace
Bro. Stephen receives the sign of peace from each member of the monastic community (pictured here is Father Benet).
After the conclusion of the rite of solemn monastic profession, the Abbot celebrates the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
At mass on July 12, 2014 Brother Stephen Lawson, OSB professed his solemn vows to the monastic community of Saint Anselm Abbey. On this occasion he received the distinctive black robe associated with solemn vows, referred to as a cuculla (sometimes also referred to as a cowl). In the group photo below, Brother Isaac is also wearing a cuculla, whereas the other monks are wearing mass vestments, as the photo was taken at the conclusion of mass, and they are all ordained members of the clergy. They would wear their cucullas on solemn occasions other than mass.
Front: Brother Stephen and Brother Isaac (Stephen’s Junior Master);
Back: Father Peter (Subprior), Abbot Mark, Bishop Joseph (Novice Master), Father Mathias (Prior)
At mass today on this Feast of Saint Benedict, the monks of Saint Anselm Abbey were pleased to welcome Brothers Paul and Ignatius into simple vows. The two novices, Brother Paul (Scott) LeSage and Brother Ignatius (Andrew) Membrino professed their simple monastic vows by reading the following formula:
I… promise with vows valid for three years,
before God and his saints
in the presence of our father in Christ, Abbot Mark Cooper,
and the monks of this monastery,
stability in this community,
conversion through a monastic way of life,
and obedience according to the Rule of our Holy Father Benedict
and the law proper to our Congregation.
Congratulations to Brothers Paul and Ignatius on this happy day for our monastic community.
Left to Right: Father Jude, Hubie McDonough, Brother Stephen, Father Jerome
Thanks to College alumnus, Hubie McDonough, ’86, several monks got to see the Stanley Cup on campus yesterday.
This year’s retreat master is Bishop John Arnold, auxiliary bishop of Westminster (England). While not a Benedictine or a monk, he holds the titular sea of Lindisfarne.