GREETINGS AND GOD’S BLESSINGS AND PEACE!
St. Benedict, the Father of Western Monasticism, encourages the monks to read during the Lenten Season a book by a spiritual writer – given by the Superior – from the beginning to the end and to meditate on the message as part of the exercises leading towards the celebration of Holy Easter.
You may be wondering where I want to go with this opening paragraph. Over the years, I have been known to be an advocate for education at all levels of society, and especially in poor countries, so that people will have a better future. Today I wish to point out the importance of solid education of young monks and future priests attending the university and living together in community at the Benedictine Study House Langata, Nairobi, Kenya.
I am grateful to Bro. Ansgar, the Mission Procurator of our Congregation, who provided the information to substantiate this Lenten appeal. He writes:
Our mission work goes on as strong as ever. This may be surprising in view of decreasing vocations in our American and European monasteries. Our work goes on wherever we are represented and especially in Africa because our monasteries were taken over by indigenous monks. Young African monks are ready to carry on what we had started like parishes, retreat centers, hospitals and schools.
One major concern was to keep the standards set by our missionaries. How can we keep up the level of services with our young confreres? The answer is: education. Good education is not so easily available in Africa. Many countries run universities on a low level and skills learned there are not sufficient. Kenya, however, has succeeded to build up an excellent set of universities in Nairobi. There, theology, social sciences, business administration or teachers’ degrees can be obtained. Therefore, our Congregation Council decided to construct a study house in the university suburb of Nairobi called Langata. This house offers 32 confreres an opportunity to study whatever is needed for their respective monastery.
The house opened its doors 10 years ago. The American benefactors of the Benedictine Mission House in Schuyler were instrumental in financing the construction of this facility which has now a good reputation. All rooms are occupied and students come from African countries, from India and sometimes for special studies even from Europe. The day to day operation of this house is paid by our benefactors.
However, we have an acute problem: in all those years we never had funds for a proper library and reading room. The existing “mini library” is not satisfactory, especially due to “outdated” resources in many disciplines. In medieval monasteries the “Scriptorium” was the center of learning. Today it is a well-stocked library in addition to the on-line resources.
To fulfill the dream for a monastic library, including resources that benefit the studies of our young confreres, we are in need of financial assistance so that, through the coordinating efforts of the Congregation Mission Office, we can build up a modern day “Scriptorium” where they can study. Investing in this project guarantees a long lasting effect and helps to spread knowledge all over the African continent. What better help can we give than to assure good and solid education and the resources to deepen knowledge?
God bless you for your help!
Bro. Dr. Ansgar Stuefe, O.S.B.
Studying the Word of God and the writings of authentic Catholic authors has always been and will be an important task for monks and all Christians alike. I therefor invite you to help us with a financial Lenten offering to provide for a library at the Study House at Langata. The funds will be sent to the office of the Mission Procurator of the Congregation and Bro. Ansgar will oversee that your gift will be used as directed, helping to educate our young monks.
In the joy of this holy season and with expectation for a grace-filled celebration of the Easter mysteries, and the promise to remember your intentions in daily prayers, I remain,
Gratefully yours: Father Volker, O.S.B.