Thursday, August 18, 2011
Four St. Bernard monks continue monastic studies
Photo cutline: Br. Benedict Dyar, OSB, Br. Anselm Kuehler, OSB, Br. Josemaria Balderas, OSB and Br. Bernard Denson, OSB
Abbot Cletus Meagher, OSB at St. Bernard Abbey recently announced that four monks will enroll in college and theological studies this fall to continue their monastic formation.
Br. Anselm Kuehler, OSB, and Br. Benedict Dyar, OSB, plan to matriculate at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN while Br. Bernard Denson, OSB, and Br. Josemaria Balderas, OSB, will enroll at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.
Abbot Cletus said, “God has blessed St. Bernard with the talents of these four men. I wish them the best as they start another chapter of their monastic life, and look forward to what their futures hold.”
Br. Anselm Kuehler has been a member of St. Bernard Abbey for the past six years. After graduating from high school in Dallas, TX, Br. Anselm spent four years in the seminary. “I left seminary school and started working on my Master’s degree,” he said. “After teaching for 20 years in Dallas, I came to Alabama and taught for two years at St. Ann’s in Decatur before accepting Fr. Joel’s invitation to teach at St. Bernard.”
While teaching was nothing new to Br. Anselm, he was so impressed with the monastic life at St. Bernard that he decided to look into the monastic life to see if it might be a good fit for him. He entered the monastery shortly thereafter.
Br. Anselm’s plans to earn his Masters of Divinity which is a four-year program covering the basic classes needed to be ordained a priest.
Br. Benedict Dyar also will enroll at St. John’s University in Minnesota just days after making final vows as a member of St. Bernard Abbey. Br. Benedict came to St. Bernard Abbey from Opelika, Alabama and has been very involved in community life. He has become known as the “bread man,” since he is one of the main bakers of breads in the Abbey Kitchen. He is also very involved with the Abbey vocation program. He works on the Abbey Farm and helps in the upkeep of the grounds around the campus. During the 2010-11 school year, he taught a history course in the high school and was the faculty moderator of the astronomy club at the Prep School.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to begin studies toward a Master of Arts degree,” Br. Benedict said. “I plan to concentrate on monastic studies while completing the requirements for ordination to the priesthood.”
Br. Josemaria Balderas, OSB came to St. Bernard two years ago from California. Growing up he describes himself as a regular person who excelled in music and athletics, especially soccer and wrestling, while in high school. At the age of 18 he felt the call to monastic life. After a few years of discernment while working and playing in bands, he decided it was a fit and entered St. Bernard Abbey.
“I still have two more years to complete my first vows and I am extremely happy to be furthering my educational studies at Benedictine College,” Br. Josemaria said.
Br. Josemaria has been attending Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, AL, where he is a member of the Dean’s list. He plans to major in philosophy with a minor in Spanish at Benedictine College.
Br. Bernard Denson, OSB will also enroll this fall at Benedictine College in Kansas. A 2009 alumnus of St. Bernard Prep School, Br. Bernard entered the monastic formation program of St. Bernard Abbey just three weeks after graduation.
“I always wanted to be a priest, and didn’t know what a monk was before arriving at St. Bernard,” Br. Bernard said. “Coming to St. Bernard in 2006 as a sophomore in high school was the best decision I ever made. The monks had such an impact on me that I knew I wanted to be a part of the monastic life.”
Br. Bernard plans to study philosophy and possibly complete a double major in English so he can return to St. Bernard and teach at St. Bernard Prep School.