October 1, 2012
From September 15-26, Abbot James participated in the Benedictine Confederation’s quadrennial Congress of Abbots, held at the Order’s international college Sant’Anselmo on the Aventine Hill in Rome. At the congress, Abbot Notker Wolf, from St. Ottilien Abbey in Bavaria, was re-elected Abbot Primate for a further four years. The 240 abbots in attendance heard a number of reports from various groups affiliated with the Order, including the Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM), Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIM/MID), and Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (CIB, which represents Benedictine nuns and sisters throughout the world), and also spent several sessions discussing matters relating to the Benedictine Athenaeum, which offers degrees in philosophy, theology, and liturgy at Sant’Anselmo. There were two free days for pilgrimages to one or another Benedictine site in central Italy. Abbot James selected the ones to Monte Cassino (on Sunday, September 16) and to Camaldoli a week later. He also met two of the St. Anselm’s Abbey Oblates, Grace Mary and Wally Oates, one Saturday afternoon; Wally, a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Maryland, was in Rome to give some guest lectures at the Sapienza University.