What I Hold Sacred – Spiritual Days at Beuron Monastery

Studies, work, family, friends and social responsibilities – it is indeed not easy to juggle be-tween all these things at once and often, the pressure of expectation from the outside feels like a great burden. Sometimes life seems to be rather chaotic and there are times, when even disorientation, restlessness and meaninglessness are added as well. In those situations, answers to basic questions are sought, such as what does really matter to me? What do I hold sacred?

Against this background, 16 KAAD scholars from 14 different countries met in the traditional Benedictine Abbey in Beuron from July, 19th to 23rd 2019 to have time for themselves and their relation with God. Under the direction of Father Prof. Dr. Ulrich Engel OP and Father Prof. Dr. Thomas Eggensperger OP and embedded in the monastic rhythm of “Ora and labora”, prayer and work, the scholars had time to ponder about what really matters to them in this life. During four inspiring days, the scholars had the opportunity to study biblical texts, listen to spiritual music, read poems and gain an insight into the Monks’ life and daily rhythm at Beuron Monastery. They celebrated together the Holy Mass in the Abbey Church of St. Martinus (Matins, celebration of the Eucharist, vespers and compline), meditated, hold biblical discussions, painted and talked about their patterns of life. Prior and Guest Father Sebastian Haas-Sigel OSB introduced the seminar’s participants to the history and life of the Benedictines. He openly answered all of the students’ questions about daily life in the mon-astery, work and vocation, his favourite passages in the Bible and the monks’ main activities in the monastery in Beuron.

The film “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word“ by Wim Wenders shown in the monastery’s cer-emonial hall left a deep impression on all participants. In the following discussion about the movie, not only the impressive statements made by the Pope on enslavement for money, social injustice and the destruction of nature, but also his courage, compassion and cordiality were emphasised.

What is more, the seminar’s programme also included a hike upstream the Danube to the St. Maurus Chapel where the group celebrated together a Holy Mass as well as a short visit to the Benedictines’ hydroelectric power station. One of the highlights during the group’s time in Beuron was a unique artistic experience: The concert with the chamber choir “Cantanti Amabili” and with Father Landelin Fuß OSB playing the organ as part of the concerts “Lau-date Nomen Domini” at the abbey church. Singers and the organist presented choral music from various centuries from the Renaissance to the Modern Age, such as “Jesu, meine Freude“ by Johann Sebastian Bach, „Schaffe in mir Gott“ by C. Loewe, „Ubi Caritas“ by O. Gjeilo and „An Irish Blessing“ by J.E-Moore and others.

During the intense programme of the seminar, there was also enough time to deal with one’s one questions in silence, conversations and in encounters with others. This made Beuron Monastery a perfect place for physical, intellectual and spiritual relaxation for all scholars to find to God and to themselves.