US Region Superiors Meet at Gethsemani Abbey

Trappist abbots and abbesses of the United States gathered at Gethsemani Abbey for a regional meeting Aug. 25 through Sept. 1. Their focus was to prepare for the General Chapter of the Order in 2022, but they addressed other issues of regional concern also.

The General Chapter they were preparing for is a regular gathering of all the abbots and abbesses of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance through out the world. It exercises the OCSO’s supreme authority.
According to the Order’s Constitution 77, “They discuss there the salvation of their own souls and of those committed to them. They take measures regarding the observance of the Holy Rule and of the Order where there is something that needs to be corrected or added. They foster anew among themselves the benefit of peace and charity. They devote themselves to maintaining the patrimony of the Order and safeguarding and increasing its unity.”
Next year’s General Chapter will be a crucial one. Not only will it elect a new Abbot General, but thanks to COVID-19, the superiors will also face a backlog of issues. The last General Chapter was scheduled for September 2020 but was postponed until September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then rescheduled for September 2022 for the same reason.
To prepare for such an important General Chapter, the region’s superiors had a lot to cover during their time together at Gethsemani. Still, they commented on “the positive energy and peaceful calm that supported our work,” saying it “seemed to come from the openness, mutual respect and high level of trust that we share.”
In addition to the meetings, the visitors shared in the host community’s liturgy. Some modifications were made because of the pandemic – the visiting superiors were in a separate area of choir and spaced out in the nave during Mass – but Gethsemani monks said it was a joy to have so many brothers and sisters joining them.
Throughout the week, the visiting superiors also addressed the Gethsemani community in Chapter, sharing overviews and updates about their respective communities. Finally, the week concluded with a delightful Gaudeamus supper.
Please pray for all the region’s superiors that the Lord will guide and bless their service to their communities and the Order.