Tarrawarra Abbey, YARRA GLEN, Victoria, 3775

TARRAWARRA Newsletter of the Cistercian Monks Vol. 42 No. 1 Tarrawarra Abbey, YARRA GLEN, Victoria, 3775 July, 2010. egional Reeting M InsideThis...
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TARRAWARRA Newsletter of the Cistercian Monks

Vol. 42 No. 1

Tarrawarra Abbey, YARRA GLEN, Victoria, 3775

July, 2010.

egional Reeting M

InsideThis Issue: Page 2 • Dom Andre Louf

Page 3 • Around the Monastery

Page 4 • Benedictine Union • St Rafael

Page 5 • Order News

Page 6 • e-Conference • Br Ron Fogarty

Page 8 • Aelred of Rievaulx


istercian communities are grouped today in twelve Regions. Tarrawarra belongs to the Asia-Pacific Region which is officially known as Oriens. Geographically, linguistically, culturally and nationally, Oriens is vast and diverse. There are a variety of reasons and occasions for representatives from the twenty-plus communities to gather. The Abbot and Br. Bernard Redden, as the community delegate, attended the most recent full Regional Meeting, 15-21 April, held in Cen-

tral Java at a Christian Convention Centre called Salib Putih (White Cross), near Salatiga. Salib Putih is a half hour drive from our Cistercian women’s community at Gedono. Mother Martha Driscoll and her Sisters from Gedono chose the site and were responsible for the hefty amount of planning and work that went into hosting the week-long meeting. Salib Putih is breathtakingly situated on a slope surrounded on all sides by mountains cov(continued on page 2)

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ered with tropical vegetation and with a lake below. The accommodation and facilities were “five-star”, and at a fifth of the price you would pay in Australia. The hospitality extended by the staff would be hard to equal anywhere.


he Regional Meetings have, as one of their tasks, preparatory work for the upcoming General Chapter. The next is due to be held in Assisi during September of 2011. Formation, the assistance given by communities to newcomers initially and to members throughout their monastic lives to foster the full flowering of their Cistercian vocation, has been designated by the Order as a major topic for the 2011 General Chapters. It was, therefore, central to the discussions at this meeting. These were rich and valuable. The content was communicated, as a brief “Statement on Formation”, to our Central Commission. This latter met in Tilburg, one of our Dutch monasteries, during early June, as the body responsible for the next stage of planning for the Assisi meeting in 2011. The Central Commission receives and processes the contributions from all the Regions. Our deliberations were communicated in the form of twenty-nine votes in addition to the “Statement”. A few sentences from the “Statement” can be excerpted to give some taste of the approach adopted. “Eastern culture has a deep appreciation of learning wisdom from tradition, by imitating and learning from experience… This is also the heart of monastic praxis - do it and you will understand later. So in our communities there is a strong emphasis on formation


through life rather than through courses. The method is experience of the path of humility, obedience, self-knowledge and responsibility. We become Cistercian by living the conversatio (monastic way of life) - a process of transformation in Christ through all the events of life. The community is formative in its fidelity to the conversatio… We transmit the life by living it. Observances are just the means, the reminder of something that is deeper - our vocation. We take the observances seriously as a loving response to Jesus’ call to intimacy. We seek how the conversatio can help us pass from selfishness to communion through our gift of self to Christ in and through the community, in order to find our new humanity in Christ… New candidates from the globalised culture present new challenges of which we are well aware. Formation means the willingness to suffer in order to accept the other in their weakness and transmit the unconditional love of God in an experience of spiritual paternity and maternity. This is the perennial transmission of Christian life through the Cistercian charism that is still valid and vital today”.

risks to our contemplative monastic lifestyle were obvious: escape into a virtual world, running away from self and the community, causing a divided heart; unbridled curiosity, an obsessive need to know; wasting time that could be used in our search for God. IT can become addictive and manipulate our thinking so that we unconsciously absorb the secular and anti-Christian culture that is often prominent in the mass media. Every generation has its challenges to face and the Region recognises that this is clearly ours. It will test our capacity for discernment and seriousness of purpose in seeking God alone. The Regional Meeting members and the Gedono community were able to share Mass and some of the other liturgical prayer on Sunday, picnic together later in the day, and enjoy some Indonesian cultural entertainment by members of the community and young dancers at day‘s end. A sing-song around a huge bonfire, concluding with the Salve Regina, the nightly Cistercian finale to Our Lady, built regional bonds with our Indonesian Sisters.


ne of the challenges of the globalised culture which was discussed was that of the Internet and IT communication. It has opened up marvellous possibilities of communication never before experienced - especially in some countries of our Region where there was not yet widespread use of the telephone which we in Australia had come to take for granted. Some of the benefits that were recognised were: worldwide communication with the Church and the Order; the ready availability of documents and studies; long-distance courses; resources for study; educational Econferences; DVDs that provide visual education with all its impact; access to art, beauty, and worthwhile films. At the same time, the

Dom Andre Louf


om Andre Louf, former abbot of the French Cistercian community of Mont des Cats, died on 12 July. He may have been known to some of our readers through his excellent writings such as Teach Us To Pray. He was born in Louvain, Belgium, in 1929, entered the monastery in 1947, and served as abbot from 1963 to 1997. After his retirement from office he lived as a hermit at Simiane.

Around the Monastery


anuary 26, as both our Cistercian and Australian readers know, is a significant date. Others may need to be told that it is the Solemnity of Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen Harding, our Cistercian Founders way back in 1098; and Australia Day because of the arrival of the First Fleet with its convict and military settlers in Sydney in 1788. This year Br. Samuel Chua gave it a further significance for us when he became an Australian citizen in the ceremony held at Wandin that day. To facilitate his cheer squad of monks and friends, our Mass was celebrated at Tarrawarra three hours earlier than would have otherwise been the case. The naturalisation ceremony was an outdoor affair and we were blessed with wonderful weather. The many others of all ages, including whole families, who were becoming

Aussies, were accompanied by joyful supporters too. Samuel looked as pleased as punch and even got himself photographed with a politician or two. We had all been reminded that this year we will be having both Federal and Victorian State elections and that the new citizens should have their say - even run for parliament if they liked! Richard and Wailin Galbraith invited Samuel’s group home for “a light lunch”. We all realised that it would turn out to

be closer to “a bumper banquet”. We were right!


r. Luke Rudd graduated as a Bachelor of Theology in a ceremony in Melbourne University’s Wilson Hall on 22 April. We rejoice with him, as did his family, on this achievement. Luke began these studies at Catholic Theological College in 1999 while he was a local seminarian. He had completed most of the required units before he joined the community here at Tarrawarra. During the years of his postulancy and novitiate the remaining units were placed on hold so as to give priority to his initial training in monastic life. Later he was able to take up the outstanding courses by correspondence through the Broken Bay Institute in Sydney. He was most grateful to the authorities in both academic bodies for granting him an extension of time because of the necessary interruption to enable him to get launched in his Cistercian vocation. He also went the extra mile, so to speak, in that he found that, according to the rules, he had “done too much philosophy” and ended with one extra unit once he had fulfilled all requirements. Congratulations, Luke!


Benedictine Union


New Guest House at Kopua, with Dom Brian [insert]

he Australian and New Zealand Benedictine Union is a free association of monastic communities following the Rule of St. Benedict which was formed in 1970, soon after the end of the Second Vatican Council which encouraged such collaboration. Our Brother Bernard Redden is its present Co-ordinator, ably supported by Sister Cecily Pullen of the Good Samaritans who is Secretary and Treasurer. The superiors of the participating communities



gather under the direction of Bernard and Cecily on an annual basis. This year the AGM was held from 26-28 June, and the venue was at the Cistercian Southern Star Abbey, Kopua. This was the first foray of the Union across the Tasman, fondly known as “the Ditch”. It was made possible by Kopua’s recently constructed guest accommodation. This latter is an excellent facility. Despite the cold and the wet of a Hawke’s Bay winter, the meeting was cosily

St Rafael WYD Patron

t. Rafael Arnaiz Baron, who as a Blessed was named patron of youth for today by Pope John Paul II, and canonised last October, has been designated by Pope Benedict as one of the patrons of World Youth Day in Madrid next year. This seems reasonable enough given that he was a Spaniard who studied at the University of Madrid before entering our monastery at San Isidro and dying at a youthful twenty-seven.

comfortable, and the large breakfast and sitting room was a very hospitable space for the meeting. Abbot Brian Keogh and the monastic community, powerfully supported by the Companions of Southern Star, were wonderful hosts. The Union hopes that this visit was of value to Kopua too. The first day, the day of peer sharing by the superiors, was, as usual, experienced as extremely supportive and valuable. The second day was a Benedictine Studies Day which was open to the public and attended by around sixty. The superiors of the two New Zealand Tyburn Benedictine nuns communities, and Dom Brian, each gave histories of the foundation of their communities. Church historian Dr. Nicholas Reid entertained and informed with his “The Bishop and the Benedictines: Auckland’s Benedictine Foundation from 1879 to 1900s. The third day was given over to the necessary business. Thank you, Kopua.

Order News


n late February, early March our nearest Cistercian neighbours, at Southern Star Abbey, Kopua, in New Zealand, were due for both an official Regular Visitation and an Abbatial Election. Dom Michael Ahern, the superior of their mother-house, Mt. Melleray in Ireland, was unable to make the long flight for age and health reasons and so he delegated our Abbot David to do the honours for him. The Kopua community made it easy for David as they conducted a facilitated discernment process in January. David enjoyed his time there as all the hard work had already been done before his arrival. Further, the weather was perfect for daily walks, and Brian kept him supplied with string quartets and mellow cello with which to relax before sleep. On 5 March the community re-elected Brian Keogh, formerly a monk of Tarrawarra, for a third six-year term as abbot, and David installed him on the same day.


om Yesudas Thelliyil, Abbot of Kurisumala, our daughterhouse in India, spent Holy Week and Easter Week with us. It was the first time anyone from Kurisumala had been at Tarrawarra, an added reason for our joy in welcoming him. Our Abbot David had spent

the fortnight prior to that in Kerala assisting the monks with talks on the theme of monastic community. Included in his time there was the celebration of Palm Sunday, known in those parts as Hosanna Sunday. “Hosanna” was certainly the word of choice during that weekend. Flowers, especially bougainvillea bloom, were strewn liberally in the church and on the route of the palm procession around the farmyard. The palm ceremony took over an hour in itself, and then followed the lengthy Syro-Malankara Qurbono or Eucharist. Yesudas elected to travel back to Australia with David. His experience of liturgy in the Roman rite during the next fortnight, even though the most solemn ceremonies of the year, was a much more sober one. However, in his khavi or orange robes he added a splash of colour to our less eyecatching black and white. Similarity of beard and height allowed us to think of our Br. John Pocock as a twin to Yesudas despite John’s additional years. One evening our visitor was able to give us a firsthand account of his community and ashram back in the glorious mountain country around Vagamon. He eventually travelled on to the Regional Meeting of our Asian and Pacific communities with Br. Bernard Redden. He referred to

Br John with Dom Yesudas

his travelling companions as his guardian angels. On his way back to India through Singapore airport we hear he was assisted to his connecting flight by yet another angel who gave him a lift from his arrival gate to his departure gate on one of those buggy affairs! Finally the Abbot General, Eamon Fitzgerald, and his secretary, Fr. William Dingwall, were transformed into an angelic pair for the last leg of the journey back to Kurisumala.


round the Cistercian world new shoots continue to appear. Our Italian nuns at Valserena, inspired by the witness of our seven martyrs in Algeria in 1996, have initiated the pre-foundation of Blessed Mary Fountain of Peace in Syria. Their desire is to live a Christian contemplative life in friendship with the surrounding Muslim population. Peace, not violence, should be the fruit of the search for God in whatever religious tradition. Here in the Asian context the Indonesian women’s community, Gedono, have been drawn to take monastic life into the casino dominated culture of Macau. They would hope that their quiet, joyful, prayerful presence might communicate that there is much more to human meaning and happiness than can be found in the world of gambling and all that accompanies it. The monks of Citeaux, where the Cistercian phenomenon first got underway in 1098, are following in the footsteps of the nuns who took our life back to Norway some ten years ago. We were there for centuries until the Reformation. Now both the men and women have settled in the vicinity of Cistercian ruins and have received a warm welcome from their Lutheran neighbours. From the sound of the village name where the men are settling, Munkeberget, one suspects that the monastic memory has survived the centuries.



Many of our community have participated in two E-Conferences organised by the Broken Bay Institute. The first, on 4 November last year, was entitled “Come to the Table” and was on St. Luke’s two writings, his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostle. Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra-Goulburn

and Sister Elizabeth Dowling of the Ballarat Mercy Congregation were the principal speakers. Fr. Frank Moloney, Salesian Provincial and scripture scholar, headed the second, “Mary, the First Disciple”, on 18 May. Both were excellent occasions. As the sessions ran between 10.30 and 3.30, with breaks, we rearranged our schedule slightly to

Br Ron Fogarty


Br Ron Fogarty with Fr Carthage

rother Ronald Fogarty (19132009) died on the 13th December, and we were honoured when Dom David was asked by Ron’s fellow Marist Brothers to be the principal celebrant at his funeral mass at Marcellin College, Bulleen, and to lay his body to rest at Kilmore cemetry on 17th December. Three other members of our community participated: Fr Mark Ryan, Fr Michael Casey and Br Bernard Redden. They were conscious of representing not


only the local community but many other Cistercian groups around the world. “Ronnie” was a wonderful Tarrawarra friend and benefactor, working with us and other Englishspeaking Cistercian communities for over three and a half decades. Between 1942 and 1969 Ron acquired six academic degrees in the fields of education and psychology, so he was highly qualified when Dom Kevin O’Farrell managed to interest him in 1970 in working with us to understand how we ticked and

accommodate to the live screening. Many other groups around Australia and overseas were doing likewise. We recommend this material to any who missed out at the time. It has been archived and can be accessed. We look forward to the next conference on 16 September: “Jesus the Christ” with Gerald O’Collins SJ. how we could better inter-relate! We all felt very much loved by Ronnie and never did his learning constitute the slightest barrier for any of us. Each time he arrived among us his first priority was to greet us personally and catch up on the latest episode of each man’s story. His help over the years was invaluable. He was as thin as a match-stick but filled with incredible energy. Jet-lag never seemed to exist for him and he would often step off an overseas flight and straight into sessions with us. Br. Julian Casey, our Michael’s brother, as Provincial gave a great eulogy. He warned that it was impossible to cover such a long and packed life in a few minutes so we should sit back and enjoy the ride! We were more than happy to do so. Thank you Ronnie for your friendship and your unstinting service to Tarrawarra! Our only regret is that we were not better students! As St. Benedict says: “May Christ bring us all together to eternal life”.

Abbot Aelred of Rievaulx


(continued from back page)

elred was elected Abbot of Rievaulx in 1147 and governed the monastery for the next twenty years until his death in 1167. Despite increasing ill health, Aelred proved himself both an able temporal administrator and an effective spiritual teacher. Under his wise leadership the community grew to over 500 monks and lay brothers. Suppressed in 1538, this vast monastic complex, now in ruins, remains a popular tourist destination. Aelred was highly active beyond his own monastery, participating in the affairs of the Order and of the Church, and intervening also in political affairs. He had some renown as a preacher and was chosen to preach before King Henry II at Westminster Abbey on the national occasion of welcoming the relics of Saint Edward the Confessor. His biographer informs us that he wrote countless letters to kings, bishops, and nobles, and was in contact with all the important people in the kingdom, Alas, it seems that

none of these letters have survived - although they may be discovered some day. For all his involvement in administration within his monastery and politics outside, Aelred wrote much. He was the author of several historical works and lives of the saints, often written with a pointed message concerning contemporary issues. He seems to have liked writing and, as his biographer notes, what he wrote was like a living image of himself. His vigorous prose clearly came from the pen of a man with a wide variety of interests, who was well-informed and not unwilling for his opinions on many topics to be widely known.


is spiritual concerns are revealed more fully in his treatises and in the chapter discourses that he gave to his monks. His work On Spiritual Friendship and the Life by Walter Daniel have led many to believe that he was a soft and sentimental old man, but his consistent doctrine, illustrated in the discours-

Aelred presents to King Henry II his “Life of Edward”

Aelred’s Writings 1142-43 1153-57 1160 ± 1160-62


Mirror of Charity Jesus at Twelve Years Old Spiritual Friendship Rules for Recluses

Narrative Works

1153 Lament for King David 1154-55 Genealogy of English Kings 1154-55 On the Saints of Hexham 1154-60 Life of Saint Ninian 1155-57 The Battle of the Standard 1158-65 The Nun of Watton 1163 Life of St Edward

Other Works

185 Sermons and Discourses 31 Homilies on Isaiah Numerous Lost Letters

es given to his monks, adds to this pleasant picture the qualities of a forthright, knowledgeable and fearless master of monastic principles. He was certainly a kind, understanding and sympathetic man, but he was such a good guide to the spiritual life precisely because he was never blind to human weakness, and he knew ways to help others maintain their fervour. He placed high standards before his monks, clearly delineated the practical steps they had to take to realise their goals, and encouraged and supported them in a lifelong commitment to the demands and rewards of the Cistercian way of life. Aelred is rightly considered to be one of the pillars of early Cistercian spirituality. We are blessed in having so many of his writings, most of them available in English translation. His contemporary, Jocelin the Abbot of Furness, described him thus: “He was a man of the highest integrity, of great practical wisdom, witty and eloquent, a pleasant companion, generous and discreet.” His body of writing confirms this assessment.


Abbot Aelred of Rievaulx 1110 - 1167

by Fr Michael Casey, ocso This year we celebrate the ninth centenary of the birth of Saint Aelred, one of the most important twelfth-century Cistercians. We learn about him from a contemporary Life composed by his secretary of many years, and also from his own extensive writings. His feast is celebrated on 12th January.


The Young Aelred portrayed in a French Cistercian Manuscript

n the year 1110 Aelred (or Ethelred) was born at Hexham in Northumbria, one of three sons of Eilaf the parish priest; the last of a long line of Anglo-Saxon married clergy.

The Norman invasion in 1066 brought to England a zeal for the Church reforms initiated by Pope Gregory VII. Principal among the new ways was a movement towards priestly celibacy. As a step in that direction, a regulation was introduced whereby a priest’s son was prevented from inheriting his father’s parish; the only way he could present for ordination, if he were so inclined, was to renounce his right to the benefice and become a religious. And that is how this talented young man ended up in an obscure monastery in Yorkshire.


After some years of education at the Cathedral school at Durham, the youth Aelred took up a position in the court of King David of Scotland at Roxburgh, eventually becoming his steward. This position gave Aelred not only a network of important contacts, but also the opportunity to develop the skills in diplomacy and economic management that he would manifest in later life. Even though he was a rising star at court, his heart was elsewhere. To the surprise of many, in 1134 he left all this worldly success behind, and entered the Cistercian monastery at Rievaulx, founded from Clairvaux two years earlier.

These were troubled times. In the period 1135-1153, England was profoundly divided by a civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda, rival claimants to the throne. No region in the land was left untouched as the war raged up and down the country. A major battle was fought not far from Rievaulx in 1138, and involved the abbey’s founder, the baron Walter Espec, fighting Aelred’s former patron, King David of Scotland. It seems likely that Aelred himself felt divided in his loyalties. The period of anarchy continued until the accession of Henry II in 1154; for whom, eventually, Aelred wrote an admonitory treatise: The Genealogy of the English Kings.


eanwhile the courtier was being changed into a monk. Around 1142, Aelred, by now novice-master at Rievaulx, so impressed Saint Bernard of Clairvaux that he instructed the younger man to write down his teaching. The result was The Mirror of Charity, his first written work, which remains one of the most important expositions of the basic principles of Cistercian spirituality. Shortly after this, Aelred was elected abbot of Revesby, a daughter-house of Rievaulx, where he remained some four years; 28 of his chapter discourses date from this period. (continued on page 7)