At First Vespers of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 14, 2014), Abbot Cletus Meagher, O.S.B., received three new postulants into the novitiate of St. Bernard Abbey. The new novices were formally given the Benedictine habit of tunic, scapular and belt. On the occasion each received his new name to be used in his new way of life.
Brother Novice Dominic (Stephen) Lee was born in Madison, Alabama twenty years ago. Ten years later his family moved to Huntsville, Alabama where they remain and are members of Holy Spirit Parish. Br. Dominic was homeschooled throughout his high school years. He has two older sisters and three younger brothers. One of his sisters is a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of St. Walburga in northern Colorado.
Born and reared in Birmingham, Alabama, Brother Paschal (Gabriel) Pautler is 18 years old. He has a younger sister and two younger brothers, as well as an older half-brother and a half-sister. Br. Paschal attended St. Rose Academy in Birmingham before coming to St. Bernard Prep as a boarding student in the 9th grade. He graduated from SBP in May 2014 and entered the monastery just two weeks later, drawn to the Benedictine life he saw lived out during his four years as a St. Bernard student.
Brother Pachomius (Gustavo) Alverado is 36 years old. He was born in Matanzas, Cuba. Brother’s mother and his sister, his only sibling, live together in Cuba. His father is deceased. While still in Cuba, Br. Pachomius attended university where he studied Social Media. Before completing his degree, he was hired by a marketing and public relations company in Bogota, Columbia. He held that job for two years during which time he learned of the Benedictine monastery of Tibati in Bogota. After several visits to the monastery, he decided to join them. However, after about a year and a half, he chose to leave Tibati before completing his novitiate. While at the monastery of Tibati, he met our Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B., who was in Colombia recruiting for the Prep School. Fr. Joel apparently made a good impression on Br. Pachomius as the meeting led him to investigate St. Bernard Abbey and come to the U.S.A. to join us.
Having served their initial two months in the monastery as postulants, the three men will live as novices (beginners) in the monastery for one year plus one day, making it possible to profess their first vows on the Solemnity of the Assumption, 15 August 2015. Remaining at the monastery for the entirety of their novitiate year, the novices will live the Benedictine life of prayer and work, and spend time studying the Rule of Saint Benedict, monastic tradition and spirituality, and Sacred Scripture. They and the community will use this year to discern whether God is calling them to live the monastic life and its vows of Stability, Obedience, and Conversion of Life (conversatio morum) at Saint Bernard Abbey.