Brother Kenneth Professes Simple Vows at St. Joseph's Abbey

St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer Massachusetts-

Our Brother Kenneth Hessemer pronounced his simple vows and received the black scapular and leather belt during Chapter on Sunday, June 4. We rejoice in his self-offering to the Lord. Abbot Vincent‘s exhortation follows…

“Ah! It is truly a ridiculous thing (at least in the eyes of the world) to leave everything and waste one’s life in a monastery. St. Rafael continues: …then suddenly, quick as the wind, a powerful light pierced my soul… ‘What are you doing?’ What am I doing, what am I doing? Good Lord!!…What a question! Peeling turnips…peeling turnips! ‘But why?” …And my heart, leaping, gave a wild answer: I’m peeling turnips for love…for love of Jesus Christ.
Who would have thought that peeling turnips was our School of Love? But here we have it. Whether peeling turnips or making vows to God, for St. Raphael it is all the same when done for love of Jesus Christ. He goes on: May we be able to make the most of our time…May we be able to love that blessed cross that the Lord places in our path, whatever it may be, no matter what. Let us make the most of the little things in our everyday life, or ordinary life…There is no need to do great things to become great saints. Making the little things great is enough.

St. Rafael had his own little way, honed in on the fire of the Cistercian environment. He concludes: Anyhow, if I live in La Trapa for many years, I will turn heaven into a kind of vegetable market…and when the Lord calls me and says to me, ‘that’s enough peeling, drop the knife and apron and come enjoy the fruits of your labor’ …when I see myself in heaven among God and the saints (especially, his beloved Virgin Mary) and so many vegetables…my Lord Jesus, I cannot help but laugh.

Br. Kenneth- the absurdity of turnips, of flight from the world, of the cross…in union with the holy Virgin and our Lord Jesus Christ- we welcome you on this journey of love.”

Br. Kenneth at Profession ceremony at Spencer

For more info and pictures available on the St. Joseph Abbey’s website

Please pray for Brother Kenneth and all of our Order’s monks and nuns.

For those interested in exploring joining our way of life, we invite you to visit our page Becoming a Trappist