Dom Jean-Pierre Longeat, OSB,
President of the AIM

Summary of the Opening Address
of Dom Notker Wolf, OSB

 

NWolfAbbot Primate Notker Wolf opened the Congress by giving a summary of his mandate, September 2000 to September 2016. We give here a résumé. In the first place he spoke at length about Sant’ Anselmo and its difficulties, especially its finances, which now seem to be healthy. The efforts he has made for the renovation of the Abbey are well known, and the works which have taken place have really achieved the necessary improvements. There remains the question of an Aula suitable to receive large groups and notably the Congress of Abbots and Priors. This project is under way. He concluded with a strong plea for the maintenance of Sant’ Anselmo, despite the contrary views which are regularly voiced.

The new Abbot Primate will have to find a new Prior, and the following year a new Rector. In the coming autumn it will be necessary to elect a Dean of the Faculty of Theology. In addition it will be necessary to find a Benedictine Bursar and to provide staff for the curia of the Primate and the archives of Sant’ Anselmo.

As for the Confederation, Dom Notker stressed the importance of meetings of the synod of abbots president, and its normal participation in the meeting of superiors in the different regional associations of the AIM, the DIM/MID, and its support for the International Commission for Benedictine Education, the Commission for China and the various on-going initiatives of courses for superiors (Leadership and the Rule of St Benedict), for monks and nuns in mid-course (Courses of Monastic Renewal). He also strongly encouraged the initiative for the meeting of young monks of the Confederation in Rome. He himself had also visited a large number of monasteries.

DSC 2867Dom Notker also underlined the importance of collaboration with Benedictine women, who within the Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum are divided into nineteen regions, and are working for a stronger union among themselves and with the monks. Benedictine women are considerably more numerous than men – almost double the number!

There had also been the worldwide congress of oblates at Rome in 2005.

The Abbot Primate stressed that several projects remain unfinished:

• There is still work to be done on the renovations at Sant’ Anselmo
• It has not been possible to visit all the monasteries
• Contacts with the Roman Curia have not been very frequent
• Rather than sending spiritual letters to monks and nuns, Dom Notker had tried to set up a concrete spirituality of service, ‘to do simply what is necessary for the moment, in the love of Christ and humanity, and in this to be generous, according to the word of Scripture, “Freely you have received, give freely” (Mt 10.8)’

NWolf2Dom Notker concluded, ‘And now, how will it continue? The new Abbot Primate will put in place new emphases, according to his own character. For myself, I have lived for Sant’ Anselmo and the Confederation, and will never forget Sant’Anselmo. My principal concern has been for the life of our monasteries, but this is not directly in the hands of the Abbot Primate. There is still plenty to do to make our monasteries more lively. Our history has had its highs and lows. Our present situation is not easy, but I remain persuaded that the Spirit of God is also at work at the present time in our communities. Once more I thank you for everything, and may God bless you.’