Thursday, January 29, 2009


Genealogy research took up a bit of time this afternoon. I'm seeking to prove my descent from Capt. Louis Stagg of Louisiana. This will allow me to join the Military Order of the Stars and Bars for descendants of Confederate officers. With that in the hopper, I'm also working to prove my collateral descent from Capt. Charles O. Savoie of Illinois. That will allow me to apply for membership in the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, for descendants of Union officers. I went down to Barton Library and spent an hour in the genealogy room. Lots of interesting stuff there, but nothing jumped out at me as being immediately helpful.
Through the line of Louis Stagg, I can trace back to General John Stagg who served in the Revolutionary War. Then I can apply for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution. Who knows where it will end. I might find that I'm also a descendant of Adam. How curious.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Daily life in the parish

I just did a funeral this afternoon. It's quite chilly here, down in the 30's, which is cold for south Arkansas. The funeral was nice and well attended. It sleeted here all night, but it wasn't cold enough for it to stick, so while most of north Arkansas is suffering from ice damage and no electricity, we're doing OK. We have PRE this evening, and I wonder how many kids will be missing. The program starts off with a great deal of participation, but it starts dropping off during Advent, and then doesn't seem to pick back up very much during the rest of the year. Yes, Virginia, it does take commitment---just like anything else.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Three Holy Abbots of Citeaux

Today we celebrate from the monastic calendar, the three founding abbots of Citeaux, the founders of the Cistercian branch of the Benedictine family. They were St. Robert, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Molesme, St. Alberic, and St. Stephen Harding.

The holy abbots Robert of Molesme, Alberic and Stephen Harding gave the Benedictine tradition a particular form when in 1098 they built the New Monastery of Citeaux and founded the Cistercian Order. About 1125, Saint Stephen established the nuns' monastery of "Tart" as Citeaux's own daughter-house, and entrusted it to the pastoral care of the abbot of this
monastery. Under the influence of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and others the ideal of their reform spread and monasteries of monks and nuns following the Cistercian way of life multiplied even beyond western Europe. From the very beginning, the Order received lay brothers and lay sisters. A substantial spiritual heritage was engendered through the lives and labours of innumerable brothers and sisters that found expression in writing, chant, architecture and
crafts, and in the skillful management of their lands.

The order was created by a breakaway group of 21 Cluniac monks, who in 1098 left the abbey of Molesme in Burgundy along with their Abbot. Their motivation was to live in strict observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict - the Cluniacs were an offshoot of the Benedictines.
In 1098 the group acquired a plot of marsh land south of Dijon called Cîteaux. In Latin the name
is "Cistercium" from which we have the name Cistercian. The remaining monks in Molesme petitioned the Pope (Urban II) for the return of their abbot. Robert was instructed to return to his position in Molesme, where he spent the rest of his life. Some of the monks remined.
They elected a new abbot, Alberic. He discontinued the use of Benedictine black garments and clothed his monks in white dyed wool, who thus became known as the White Monks.
So from this "Black Monk" go greetings and prayers for our brothers and sisters of the "White Monks."