Blessing of the Bikes
Each spring at the abbey, with Holy Week, Easter and then the end of the school year, the community finds itself prayerful, yet very busy.  This season has been especially busy and also the types of activities have been diverse.  Sunday May 4, Fr. James Smith returned to the famous bikers' bar, Cook's Corner (located at the bottom of our driveway) for his 14th year of "Blessing the Bikes." Father started his blessings a little after 7 o'clock in the morning and continued until after 2 in the afternoon.  By spending hours in the sun and blessing hundreds of bikes, Cook's and Fr. James raised needed money for Second Harvest Foodbank of the St.Vincent de Paul Society of Orange County.
 
Organ Recital with Paul Jacobs

Later that afternoon, a group of 14 of our confreres went up to the Disney Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in order to assist organist Paul Jacobs in presenting Bach's monumental Clavier-Übung III.  Mr. Jacobs had asked the abbey choir to sing the chorale melodies of the German Missa Brevis, which Bach used as source material for most of the pieces of this work.  He was particularly interested that music written originally for religious purposes should be sung by a schola that of religious.  Playing the two hour long work without intermission and entirely from memory, Jacobs and the Norbertines received an instant standing ovation from the packed house afterward.  The community is preparing to sing chants from the Missa Requiem before Jacobs, Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony and John Alexander and the Pacific Chorale perform Duruflé's Requiem.
Gabriel and Maria Ferrucci

Ancient Roman history tells of a prominent citizen who left public life and returned to his beloved farm.  An invasion caused his return to public life and his saving the city.  This story parallels the recent history of St. Michael's when the Abbot telephoned Gabriel Ferrucci, known to the Norbertines as a faithful Catholic, outstanding for his leadership and service to the greater good. Gabriel literally took the call while working at his farm and the rest is history. Joining a small group to advise the Abbot how to answer the lack of space for seminarians and students, he helped form the consensus of the need for a new site. It was Gabriel and his commitment (and that of his good wife, Maria) to see a project through to the end which propelled him in a new direction in finding a suitable new site, acquiring it, entitling it and preparing the ground for construction.  His committment can only be explained by the measure of the Ferruccis' love for God and a community of his priests. 

 

Abbot Eugene and the Norbertines of St. Michael's sincerely thank Gabriel and Maria Ferrucci for assisting them so generously!

Roses for Mary

"Graham Thomas" is a David Austin rose that was introduced in 1983, as a way for David Austin to honor his good friend. Graham Stuart Thomas (1909-2003) was an English horticulturist and garden designer who wrote several volumes on the old roses from the 19th century and before.  Many of these plants, roses from the classes of Gallica, Alba, Damask, Bourbon, Tea and Noisette, were in danger of extinction as they were replaced by modern varieties, and Thomas' championing of them not only saved many varieties, but changed tastes in roses.  It was due to his work that David Austin sought to recapture some of the charm of the old varieties (many of them blooming only once a year in spring) and widen their color spectrum and blooming season.
 
Graham Thomas has butter yellow flowers with a tea scent, and can be grown as a large shrub with an arching habit or as a climber.  A helpful key to growing Austin roses well is to realize they need to be handled differently from the hybrid teas or floribundas.  An Austin (or English) rose will perform better if it is treated and maintained as a shrub, rather than pruned as hard as some modern roses used in bedding.  
 
This is a beautiful plant and a moving tribute from one great horticulturalist to another.  



ST. MICHAEL'S ABBEY
19292 El Toro Road
Silverado, CA 92676