All Saints Day,
when members of the
of St. Meinrad
Monks build community one
living stone upon another
Funeral rituals at a monastery signal to the world that God’s grace
abounds. When a monk dies, time and humanity come along for the ride.
Hen i CAMe to saint Mein-
rad Archabbey in the sum-
mer of 2006 to begin life as
a Benedictine monk at age 41, i had al-
ready helped bury a parent, four grand-
parents, a cousin about my age, and
a good friend. old age claimed some.
others died much too young, it seemed.
Addiction. A traffic accident. Cancer.
Brother Francis Wagner, O.S.B. is
a junior monk of Saint Meinrad
Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana. A former newspaper editor
and reporter in Ohio, he works
for Abbey Press, studies in the
School of Theology, and serves
as a conference presenter for the Benedictine Oblate
program. He is the author of several pastoral care
publications and articles.
These deaths slowly confronted me
with my own life—who i had been, who
i was, and who i was to become in God’s
eyes. in dying these very special people
had taught me something about living in
faith, hoping in God’s mercy, and loving in fidelity. How odd, i thought: Does
death actually give life meaning?
Words from scripture that for years
had found no invitation in my heart
began dancing to its beat:
• “Those who want to save their life
will lose it, and those who lose their
life for my sake will find it” (Matthew
• “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the
earth and dies, it remains just a single
grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”
(John 12: 24).