- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

March 20, 2016


Holy Week

O People of the earth,
rejoice in the Flame of Peace who guides you.
Join together to sing praises to the Holy One in the Land:
“Hosanna to the Redeemer Lord!”
                                                                                                      Palm Sunday Responsory for Vigils

Today, with the celebration of Palm Sunday, we begin the final week of Lent known as The Great Week as well as Holy Week. We will be spending as much of the week as we can in silent retreat as we prepare for the celebration of the Sacred Triduum and Easter beginning with the Easter Vigil. May it be a time of many graces and blessings for each one of us as we prepare for the Easter Feast! Those of you planning on the joining us for the liturgies of the Sacred Triduum and Easter will find the schedule posted on our Liturgical Services Page.

Request for Permanent Residence
As many of you may know our Br. Patrick Ryan has been helping our two daughter houses in Nigeria, Awhum and Illah, with their formation program from time to time. Being fledgling communities founded by a diocesan priest, Fr. Abraham, they have had no members of their own formed in the Cistercian monastic way of life. Every now and again houses of the Order, in keeping with the norms of the Charter of Charity, have sent senior monks to spend some time with them assisting them in their formation by teaching and example. But only for relatively short periods.

Br. Patrick has been with them off and on for the past few years and has been extremely helpful in the formation of both communities, especially those in

Br. Patrick Ryan, OCSO monk of Genesee residing permanently in Nigeria

initial formation. He has adapted well to their culture and is effective in his work and seems to be thriving in his own spiritual life. Recently, to no one’s surprise, he has written the community requesting to take up permanent residence at Illah as long as health permits. It is not an easy climate to adjust to and he has already had a bout with malaria but on the whole he is doing quite well.

This past week his request to remain there permanently as long as his health permits has been approved by Abbot Gerard and his Council, although he will remain a permanent member of Genesee with his vow of stability to this community. As is the custom in such cases he will return here every five years or so to visit the community and his family.

We of course have mixed feelings for we will miss him. He is very fervent and regular in his monastic observance and has contributed much to our own formation program. But as a ‘mother house’ we have certain responsibilities to our ‘daughters’ and having someone ready, willing and able to help us fulfill one of them is a blessing for us too. May God grant him and the community many blessings!

This move is coming at an important time in the life of these communities as vocations in Nigeria seem plentiful and both houses are growing. In fact, Awhum is either the largest or second largest house in the Order. According to the most recent statistics of 2014 they had 85 members second to Sept-fons in France with 86. And their younger ‘sister’ Illah has grown to 27 members. NOTE: CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE.

Lively liturgical celebration – African style.


The most recent solemn profession at Awhum of 8 monks on November 21, 2015


Down Memory Lane
Yesterday Dr. Tim Davis, a friend of the community, shared with the community a power point presentation of the first part of his doctoral thesis on the History of Abbey of the Genesee written several years ago. His interesting and informative presentation consisted of archival documents and photos from Genesee, Gethsemani (the founding Abbey), newspaper and magazine articles.

The segment of the thesis he presented covered the early years of the foundation from 1951 to 1953 including photos of the founders and early construction.  We are grateful for the look into our past and more appreciative of the sacrifices and dedication of our early founders and look forward to future presentations of the later years.


There are three possible ways to react to the cross when it arrives in my life. I may deny its presence totally, although its harsh, unavoidable reality does not permit that reaction to endure for very long.

I may fight it, kicking so hard against it that I injure myself all the more doing so – and still I cannot make it go away. Or I may stumble forward to venerate, embrace and even kiss it – because on this wood I will meet the Savior of the world. In the end, that option is the only one that will allow me to live with the cross in my life and let it lead me into glory.

Then only can the cross be transformed from a dark tree of torture into a radiant tree of life. Then only can it be elevated in my sight: when I learn to see it not just as an instrument of agony but as the glorious tree of life that bore – and bears – the world’s redemption.

Meeting Christ in His Mysteries
Gregory Collins, OSB