Students, faculty express gratitude during Benedictine Heritage Week

Timothy Holmes, Crier staff

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Benedictine Heritage Week marks a time for students, faculty, and staff to show their love for the Monks of Saint Anselm Abbey.

This past week of March 18-22 was rife with opportunities to display these feelings of gratitude, to learn more about Benedictine history and culture, and to celebrate Saint Benedict and the lasting effect he continues to have on our campus and the surrounding world.

Opportunities included viewing artifacts of the Abbey Church, learning about how to apply the Benedictine Hallmarks into our daily lives, experiencing a Byzantine tradition Mass, joining an Encounter Saint Benedict Retreat, discussing the history of the Benedictine tradition of brewing beer, and of course, attending Mass on the Solemnity of the death of Saint Benedict.
Perhaps the most notable among these displays of appreciation for the Monks came from the College’s Council of Being Catholic and Benedictine. Introduced and driven by council member Christopher Millett (2021), the Council sought to show the students’ gratitude in a concrete, lasting way.

An idea that was brought forth by Millett in September became a reality last week as the Council presented the Monks with a booklet filled with quotes from students detailing the monumental impact the Monks have made in their time as a student of Saint Anselm College.

In being asked why he wanted to create such a grand display of appreciation, Millett responded:
“The monastic community here at St. Anselm Abbey deserved to be recognized for their unwavering support and love for the student body. Students recognize and value the monks in their daily lives and they deserved to know that. I think the booklet made it clear that countless students have been profoundly affected by Benedictine monasticism.”

The booklet was given to the Monastic Community directly after the conclusion of their noon prayer and was received with both great surprise and thanks. In a world where Priests are more often ridiculed than thanked and the role of the Priesthood is twisted by the media, it must be a comforting for the Monks to know that there are people in this world who support their vocation, who are praying for them, and whose lives are better off because of them.

In a response to the Council’s display of appreciation, Fr. Iain MacLellan, O.S.B., a Monk and alumnus of Saint Anselm, wrote in a response to Millett:
“…[the] presentation today has to be one of the nicest things that has ever happened to us.”


While Benedictine Heritage Week may have come to a close, it does not mean that our appreciation for the Monks should end. On the contrary, we should strive to show the Monastic Community our gratitude for all that they do for us in our daily lives.
We should orient ourselves towards giving thanks to the Abbey, for this is and always will be the Monks home and we as students are and always will be guests on the Hilltop. So if you ever see someone walking around in block robes—known as a habit—both in the freezing chills of winter and the scorching rays of summer, take a few minutes out of your day to walk up to them, to say hello, to ask how their day is going, and most importantly, to show your appreciation.


Timothy Holmes
Left to right: Christopher Millet ’21, Abbot Mark, and Susan Gabert


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