I was pleased to have Fr. Meinrad Brune, OSB agree to an interview for this series in honor of the Year of Consecrated Life. Fr. Meinrad is our first religious man to participate in this series. He is a monk of the Order of St. Benedict and a priest for the order as well. He is also the Oblate Director at the Archabbey of St. Meinrad in St. Meinrad, IN. I have known him since August 2014 as a novice oblate with the Archabbey (hoping to make final oblation soon). I was amazed at all he gets done before he even goes to his office at 8:30 each morning. He has a busy life, but one that seems to be filled with joy at being a monk consecrated to God. I hope you enjoy getting to know Fr. Meinrad here.
What is your name?
Rev. Meinrad Brune, OSB
What is the name of your order and what is your order’s particular charism?
Order of Saint Benedict – It is a way of living constantly in the presence of God and seeking ways of being alert to that presence throughout the day by praying the Liturgy of the Hours in choir and community living.
How did you know God was calling you to this life?
I had a brother who was six years older than I was and he was a monk in the monastery of Saint Meinrad. Thus I came to know many of the monks and they seemed to be happy and enjoyed their life as monks. Also I made a quiet retreat when I was in college at Xavier University in Cincinnati. During that retreat, I desired to be a part of the monastic community. I wrote to the head superior and asked to come. He wrote back and said for me to come right now. The last important call was when I was doing spiritual reading as a sophomore in college. I came across the statement that a man comes to the monastery in order “to seek God.” This is from the Rule of Benedict. This was a powerful statement in discerning my call.
Tell us a bit about what your day-to-day life is like.
3:00 am – my daily walk
3:40 am – a cup of tea with honey and pray memorized prayers
4:10 am – shower, shave, and brush my teeth
4:40 am – spiritual reading (lectio divina)
5:30 am – Vigils and Lauds in the choir with the monks
6:15 am – breakfast with the monks
6:45 am – lectio divina
7:30 am – celebrate the Eucharist with the monks in choir
8:30 am till 11:30 am – assigned work in the Oblate Office, for I am the Oblate Director of the Benedictine Oblates
Noon – Midday Prayer with the monks in the choir
12:20 pm – lunch with the monks
1:00 pm till 4:15 pm – Oblate Office
5:00 pm – Sung Vespers with the monks in choir
5:30 pm – lectio divina
6:00 pm – evening dinner with the monks
6:30 pm – common recreation with the monks
7:00 pm – compline (night prayer)
7:20 pm – continued recreation until 9:00 pm if you wish, or go to your room or office and read or do other clerical work
At your leisure – retire for the night
What advice would you give to someone considering a consecrated religious life?
Write to the community that you are considering and ask to come to visit. A visit with the religious members and experiencing their way of life has an important influence on you, like I experienced with the monks of my monastery. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open your mind and heart to the consecrated way of life. You will not hear a voice, but the Spirit will speak to you in various ways in life.
What does it mean to you that Pope Francis had dedicated this year (Nov. 30, 2014-February 2, 2016) as a Year of Consecrated Life?
For me, it means that Pope Francis wanted to reaffirm the value of consecrated religious life in the life of the Church. The People of God need such men and women to live a life dedicated to God and help the People of God by their witness and prayer.
Also I think Pope Francis wanted to encourage religious by making them aware that changes come in the consecrated religious life, but the Holy Spirit is always with them and will inspire other ways of consecrated religious life to meet the needs of God’s family.
What is your favorite thing to do during your down time/recreation time?
Reading and this includes books on religious topics, Catholic newspapers and periodicals; listening to audio books (for recreational listening, I like mystery novels – but chosen ones and not just everything).
Get to know more about Benedictines and the St. Meinrad Archabbey:
Kerri Baunach is a Catholic wife and mother of three boys (plus three in heaven). She and her family live in beautiful central Kentucky where she is active in her church, a member of Cursillo, and a Benedictine Oblate. Kerri often writes on her Catholic faith, pregnancy loss, her kids, and pro-life issues. Kerri is a former music librarian (16 years) now stay-at-home mom, was a musician for over 20 years, loves taking her kids to the library (and loves that they love it), is passionately pro-life, can’t cook, and has lived in six states. In additional to writing at Catholic Sistas you can also find Kerri on her own blog at Journal of a Nobody.