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Br. Elias enters novitiate

Posted by Abbot Austin on July 5, 2015 at 8:40 AM

Taking the name Elias and being clothed in the monastic habit, Mark Dicosola entered the novitiate on Sunday, July 4th, during Solemn Vespers on the solemnity of St. Procopius. Br. Elias has spent the last four and a half month as a postulant at the abbey, taking classes and doing various assignments. During the novitiate he will also take classes and have various assignments, but it will be a more intense and focused time to learn the monastic practices, spirituality, and history of St. Procopius Abbey. Please keep Br. Elias in your prayers.

In response to Dr. Melsa's letter

Posted by Abbot Austin on July 1, 2015 at 9:05 PM

Dr. James Melsa, the chair of the Board of Trustees of Benedictine University, posted a letter on the University’s website in response to the legal complaint filed on June 22 by seven monks of St. Procopius Abbey against the Board of Trustees. Dr. Melsa’s letter contains numerous factual inaccuracies. Indeed, it is a good example of why, after three years of trying to resolve the dispute, the monks were forced to turn to a court in order to resolve it. For an understanding of the dispute, we refer you to the nine-page complaint which can be found here. A press release from the monks can be read here.

Monks ask court to clarify the By-Laws of Benedictine University

Posted by Abbot Austin on June 22, 2015 at 10:10 AM



Monks of St. Procopius Abbey Seek Resolution of Dispute

About Interpretation and Application of Longstanding Governance Principles


For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, 201-493-1027, Jamie@newspros.com


June 22, 2015, Wheaton, IL – Seven monks of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, IL, today filed suit against Benedictine University’s Board of Trustees and the institution’s current president William J. Carroll in Illinois’ 18th Judicial Circuit Court in DuPage County.


The Complaint asserts that the Trustees and President have denied and continue to deny the monks their rights as Members of the University, including the right to approve the election of Trustees, the right to amend and/or approve parts of the University’s By-Laws, the right to approve the University’s new president, and the right to have any conflict of interest disclosed to the University’s Board of Trustees.


The monks are represented in the matter by John R. Wiktor, M. David Short and David A. Maas, attorneys in the Chicago office of Reed Smith LLP.


Today’s filing comes on the heels of the Benedictine Trustees’ June 10 announcement that Michael A. Brophy, Ph.D., president of Marymount California University, had been selected as the University’s next president, replacing Carroll, who announced in January he was leaving the school’s top leadership role after 20 years.


“Our monastic community has a long tradition of participating in the governance of Benedictine,” said St. Procopius’ Abbot Austin Murphy, who is also Benedictine University’s Chancellor. “The Members’ rights to participate in and to be informed about significant matters affecting this institution are detailed in the By-Laws of the University, which is an Illinois nonprofit organization. Unfortunately, the Trustees have recently ignored these rights and made key decisions without involving us. Although for more than three years, we have tried in good faith to resolve these issues, the present impasse leaves no viable option other than to resolve these ongoing disputes with this legal action.”


Benedictine University was founded in 1887 as St. Procopius College by St. Procopius Abbey’s Benedictine monks. The institution changed its name to Illinois Benedictine College in 1971, and to Benedictine University in 1996.


The plaintiffs -- Abbot Murphy, Prior Guy Jelinek, Subprior Gregory Perron, Father Thomas Chisholm, Father James Flint, Father Philip Timko, and Brother Kevin Coffey – are the Members of Benedictine University, as well as the members of the Board of Directors of St. Procopius Abbey’s nonprofit corporation.


According to the Complaint, although the Members have significant legal rights and an oversight role in the University’s leadership and governance, including the election of trustees and changes to the University’s By-Laws, they were also denied their right to approve the most recent Trustee re-election in April, and were prevented from interviewing candidates and voting in the recent presidential selection process.

“I do not object to the selection of Dr. Brophy as the next president, but we do strongly object to the process by which he was chosen. The members were not even allowed to interview the candidates for the position,” said Abbot Murphy. “The exclusion of the Members from this important process is contrary to our governance policies and this pattern of behavior by the current Board of Trustees must be remedied immediately.”

“The Members are perplexed by this situation because twenty some years ago, our current president, Dr. Carroll, was elected in accordance with the procedures set out in the bylaws as we interpret them,” said Brother Guy. “We’re not sure why the change in process has taken place.”

The Declaratory Judgment Action asks the Court for a finding that the monks, in their roles as Members of the University, have certain rights provided by the By-Laws which need to be followed and enforced. Those rights include approving the re-election of Trustees; approving new Trustees; approving the election and appointment of the University’s president; the unilateral right to amend Articles III and IV of the By-Laws and to approve other amendments to the By-Laws initiated by the Trustees; and that current Trustees must disclose to the Board possible conflicts of interest and past or present conflicts of interest not previously disclosed.

“We are confident the best interests of Benedictine University will be served by a court clarifying the rights and obligations of the monks of St. Procopius as Members in the governance structure of the University,” said Short of Reed Smith. “A decision will provide firmer ground upon which to build a solid relationship between the Members and Trustees as this great University moves forward.”

About St. Procopius Abbey

The monastic community of St. Procopius Abbey comprises 25 men dedicated to seek and serve God as Benedictine monks in the Catholic Church. They have different social, ethnic, economic, and educational backgrounds. Some are ordained priests, some are not. Some are extroverts, some introverts. But whatever the differences, all have taken vows as monks and have thus consecrated their lives to Christ. For more information, visit www.procopius.org.


Monks celebrate anniversaries of monastic profession and priestly ordination

Posted by Abbot Austin on June 21, 2015 at 8:55 AM

At the end of the community's annual retreat, which was given by Fr. Tom McCarthy this year, the monastic community celebrated special anniversaries for five monks: Abbot Dismas and Br. Raphael (60 years of monastic profession), Abbot Hugh and Fr. Anthony (50 years of priestly ordination), and Fr. James (40 years of monastic profession). Congratulations to this year's jubilarians!

Below (l to r): Abbot Hugh, Fr. James, and Abbot Dismas

Clerestory Spring 2015 Issue is Online

Posted by Dolores on May 16, 2015 at 1:35 AM

The Spring 2105 St. Procopius Abbey's award winning magazine, The Clerestory, is now available online.


New choir seating in Lady Chapel

Posted by Abbot Austin on January 6, 2015 at 9:20 PM

On Jan. 1st, new choir seating was installed in the Lady Chapel, where the monks chant the Divine Office. The new arrangement was constructed by Abbot Austin Murphy, OSB, with the help of Br. Celestine Bundu, OSB, who is a visiting monk from the Tanzanian Abbey at Mvimwa (http://www.mvimwaabbey.com/) and is here studying at Benedictine University.

The monastic community has been exploring how to arrange its seating for chanting the Liturgy of the Hours. St. Benedict says in his Rule that nothing is to preferred to the "work of God" -- by which he means the Liturgy of the Hours, also called the Divine Office.

Abbot Austin's interview on prayer by Pastor Jon Klinepeter (UPDATED)

Posted by Abbot Austin on October 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM

On Oct. 8, I was interviewed by Pastor Jon Klinepeter of Willow Chicago on prayer, especially lectio divina. Pastor Jon was a great interviewer and his crew put together very nice shots of the abbey. Below are a couple of links.

First there the video of Pastor Jon's service which includes the interview within it. (The clip of the interview is from 40:22-45:52, although you might want to start at 39:07 to get some of Pastor Jon's points leading up to it). http://media.willowcreek.org/features/chicago/vision-sunday-prayer-together-week-6/#content

Second, here is the full interview by itself, which is about 13 min.: http://vimeo.com/77331911