The Monastery, the Motu Proprio, and the Heart of the Church

Philip Carl Smith

Dom Antoine Forgeot, the abbot of Notre Dame de Fontgombault, greeted me upon my arrival at the monastery by pouring water on my hands before the evening meal, welcoming me as if I were Christ. Fontgombault, founded in the eleventh century, has had an immense influence on the religious life of France and the United States since its reestablishment in 1948 by the Benedictines of Solesmes, and it is now an important center of Gregorian chant. For several days this past summer I received the hospitality of the monks, attending the singing of the Divine Office and participating in the solemn conventual Mass chanted each day according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII—a form of the Mass also known as the usus antiquior or the Tridentine Mass. [Read more…]

Bread from Heaven

Robert Drapeau

The Desert of Sin

We wondered what it was when it appeared.
Every morning we ate to fullness and blessed God;
we took, and ate, and remembered
how far from hearth and home we were,
how deep we walked in the wilderness. [Read more…]

On A Written Day

Simeon Lewis

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.

– Psalm 89

The lilies are dry spent,
the flesh of summer is full,
a sparrow darts and drops,
and before and behind me
the numbered pages of the day. [Read more…]

Fragment from Assisi

Meredith Wise

Because I heard the cockerel’s golden cry
Ring from the bottom of the silver olive glade,
Because he called the chapter of the noonday sun,
I shed the shackles my own hands had made.
Because the towers up and down the hill
Fired like beacons answering when they tolled the time,
Driving the white wrack of the winter orchard smoke,
I lost my fear between that chill and chime.

Meredith Wise, 21, is a student at Christendom College.

Vera Crux

Gabriel Olearnik

Hail, glory-tree, ship wood of paradise
Who carried the All-King to his high seat
Life returned to life, soul fled
On cold paths to seek the places behind the stars. [Read more…]

Afterlife of a Letter Opener

Gabriel Olearnik

Does metal die?
Do nails kneel in celestial spaces?
Do spoons sing?
Are ferrous souls ushered in
By an angel with a mouth of Sheffield steel
Haloes: haloes like molten fins
Of bronze. Of rhodium. Of tin.

Gabriel Olearnik studied medieval history at University College London. He is currently an attorney and practices corporate law.

The Flight from Magdalen Montague

Eleanor Bourg Donlon

2 April 1902

My dear R.,

You well may wonder at my address!—especially since my last missive (which was of appalling length, I know) was sent to you from the fetid bosom of our revered island. Yes, my friend, I have fled sodden London and become, for the sake of my health, a temporary expatriate. I find the rest of the world as tedious as London can ever be, in season or out of season. I am not surprised. The world has been dull for as long as I have known it and I am not so arrogant as to suppose that it was not dull before I graced it with my presence. [Read more…]


Carl Schmitt, Jr.

At first, it strikes viewers with its richness of color, with the light, the mysterious subject. Then they grow perplexed: “What is it?” It might be the Annunciation. But where is the archangel Gabriel? What is the Virgin doing? If it is not an Annunciation, what is it? [Read more…]