ABBEY OF OUR LADY OF THE GENESEE
1951 - 2011
Fr. John Denburger, OCSO, Abbot
This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our foundation from the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, Trappist, Kentucky. It was on May 26, 1951 when Dom Gerard McGinley, the first superior, and his fellow monk-founders officially took up the Cistercian-Trappist life in the Genesee Valley. It is now 60 years later and their successors continue, by God’s grace, to faithfully carry on the monastic tradition as the wording on the Foundation Cross states: “Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus” (That in everything God may be glorified) and “Servite Domino in laetitia” (Serve the Lord in joy).
To commemorate this event there will be an article each month on our webpage on some aspect of our life, e.g., reminiscences of 60 years; our liturgy; a brief history of some of our monks who rest in our cemetery; our daughter houses, etc.
In the Book of Leviticus, Chapter 25: 8ff, Moses commands the Israelites to celebrate a Jubilee Year every 50 years and details some important ways for this jubilee of “seven weeks of seven years” plus one. We happen to be 10 beyond the 50 but I believe we can borrow the spirit Moses proposes; in his discourse, two important virtues stand out: liberty or freedom of heart and fear of the Lord. He tells them, “This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants” and “...stand in the fear of your God. I, the LORD, am your God.” (Lev. 25: 10, 17)
As Cistercian-Trappist monks, in addition to obedience and stability, we are vowed to conversion of life, a radical vow which commits us to live our monastic life with unconditional fidelity in seeking God “by the following the Gospel” and by binding ourselves “to the practice of Cistercian discipline.” (Cst. 10) The depth, the extent of our conversion of heart is in proportion to the liberty or freedom of our hearts and to the faith-filled appreciation of God’s love; it is this living appreciation that is the great grace of fear of the Lord.
During this Jubilee Year, through Our Lady’s intercession, we seek the mercy of God to grow in this precious freedom and to delight in His Presence with a reverence, a fear of the Lord which grows and deepens each day. Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus!”“Servite Domino in laetitia!”
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