Abbot Mark's November Remembrance Message

In our monastery’s Book of Customs is written:

“The bond of the common life is too strong and too full of faith to be confined to this life only.  When one of the monks of our community is called to eternal life and the vision of God, the whole community does not mourn without hope.  Rather, the consolations of faith allow the whole community to offer thanks to God for his gifts and to offer supplications for the departed brother that God be merciful to him.  For when one of our brothers, having persevered in the monastery until death, is called home to God our hope of one day being reunited in Christ strengthens the bonds of mutual love and concern and the pilgrim Church becomes more closely united with the heavenly Church.”

This past summer, in a paradoxical way, the bond of hope that knits our community together was strengthened even as we mourned the passing of two senior members of our community.  Father Laurence Schlegel entered eternal life on June 27, 2021 and Father Peter Guerin was called to the fullness of the Resurrection on July 9, 2021.

These two men were very different yet each served the Church and each in his own way built up our monastic and college communities by living lives of faith, hope and charity. 

Father Laurence was a Benedictine monk for more than 70 years, and a priest in the community at Saint Anselm Abbey for more than 66 years.  In addition to his priestly ministry within the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Manchester, Father Laurence worked at Saint Anselm College, principally in the Geisel Library, where he served as a reference librarian.

Father Peter has been described as a “legend”, an “iconic figure”, and a “monk’s monk”.  Not only did Father Peter serve the college community as professor and Dean, but he served in the monastery as an enthusiastic liturgist, gifted organist, reformer in the spirit of Vatican Council II, an avid card player, fan of Rachmaninov and one of the few people who could tell a joke in a homily and actually pull it off.  Father Peter left his mark by living with fidelity, trusting always in the Lord and serving the Lord and his people with a true shepherd’s heart.

Both Father Laurence and Father Peter set their hope in God, and this hope was their anchor throughout their lives. Every family has been touched by death, by loss, by grief and sadness but our faith tells us that life, not death, will have the final word.  We share in Christ’s resurrection and promise of eternal life, for in Christ our hope of Resurrection has dawned. 

During the month of November, we join the universal church in praying for all the faithful departed. We also seek to commend our deceased confreres to you – members of our Anselmian family. Using this online form, we invite you to send us a list of those departed loved ones for whom you wish us to pray. Their names will be kept in the Abbey Church throughout the month of November and remembered daily at our Conventual Mass and Divine Office.

Sincerely in the Lord,

Abbot Mark and the monks of Saint Anselm Abbey