Abbot Isaac will lead the spiritual retreat: "Prayer & Purity of Heart"

November 10-12 Oblate-Program Spiritual Retreat on "Prayer & Purity of Heart" 
ABOUT:  This special retreat will be led by Father Abbot Isaac, OSB.  Anyone may attend, Catholics, non-Catholics, men, women, oblates, nonoblates. All are welcome.

COST: $215.00 per person/$430.00 per couple. ($115.00 per person if you are not staying overnight at the abbey.)

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: This special retreat is part of the abbey's oblate program, but is open to anyone interested in a life of prayer and living closer to God. Is that you? If so, this is your retreat!! 


REGISTRATION FORM AND FAQs: Click on the button below for the registration form and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the retreat. 

MORE INFORMATION: Call or email John Bakas 813-228-8015  (or just reply to this email!) 
Did you read Abbot Isaac's letter?

His letter was sent to everyone on the email list October 20. Yes, that was yesterday.  Seems like a long time ago to me. Anyway, if you have not read it, here it is again:

December 3, 2017 Christmas Party with the monks

Y'all come, everyone is invited and bring a dessert to share. 

An optional and voluntary part of this event is getting a monk a gift on his Christmas wish list.

The party is December 3, 2017 from 1:15 pm until all the desserts are eaten.

Saint Leo meets Attila the Hun outside Rome 452 AD
Yes, the abbey is like its namesake, Saint Leo

Pope Saint Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church persuaded Attila not to attack Rome, saving the city from destruction. 

When the Vandals under Genseric occupied Rome, Saint Leo convinced the invaders to not pillage or kill the citizens.  Saint Leo was courageous in his trust in God and steadfast in his protection of the Church and its flock. 

In the same way, Saint Leo Abbey has overcome many trials in its long history.  The abbey's monks and abbots, especially Abbot Isaac, have the courage and faithfulness of Saint Leo. 

Saint Leo's feast day is November 10th, the OSB ordo for 2017 shows the date as a solemnity at Saint Leo Abbey. 
Retreat hosts

Being a retreat host is an amazing and rewarding experience.  If you have questions or are interested please contact Dianna Roby.

Dianna Roby
(352) 588-8631

Retreat Host Ministry Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

QUESTION: Do I have to be an oblate?
Answer: No, anyone may be an abbey retreat host.

QUESTION: How many hosts are needed for a typical retreat?
Answer: Ideally two people, a man and a woman. Sometimes a third (someone just learning to be a host) is also a big help. And if there is only one person, that might be OK too.  It all depends on the retreat.

QUESTION: I can't be at the abbey the entire time, could I come part of the time to help?
Answer: Sure. Come and give the time you can.

QUESTION: I am not sure I know what to do. Are there written guidelines?
Answer: Yes. And one of the most important things a retreat host will do is pass information and questions on to Dianna by text or a phone call. You are Dianna's eyes and ears at the abbey. You are not expected to have all the answers.

QUESTION: I can pass information on to Dianna. What else would I be doing?
Answer: Greeting retreat guests and making them feel welcome. Today's spiritual pilgrims need the friendly greeting, "You are welcome at Saint Leo Abbey."

QUESTION: Greeting and welcoming guests at the abbey, that's sounds really Benedictine. I can do that. What else could I do?
Answer: Help guests, abbey staff, and Brother James in the gift shop as you are inclined and feel comfortable. There is always something to do at an abbey. The dining room always needs extra help during a big retreat.

QUESTION: If I stay overnight is there a cost? And what about meals?
Answer: There is no cost to retreat hosts and meals are provided too. There is a two-room host suite with its own bathroom and sitting area. Other appropriate separate accommodations are made depending on the hosts.

QUESTION: What if someone asks me a question or I encounter a problem?
Answer: Text or call Dianna.

QUESTION: As a retreat host, will I learn about the abbey and monastic life from the inside?
Answer: Yes. Being a retreat host allows you to be part of the abbey's apostolate which is providing spiritual retreats. You will see how
ora et labora (prayer and work) are both present in the monastic day.

QUESTION: Are there forms I need to fill out to be a retreat host?
Answer: Yes, Dianna will provide those to you.

Those writing Benedictines

In the olden days Benedictine monks had a room or even a separate building called the SCRIPTORIUM --
a special room or building at the monastery for copying texts.

"Scribes in a particular scriptorium were generally trained to write in a similar script."

Prior to the invention and wide adoption of the printing press monks "wrote with a pen, made from a quill, dipped in ink made from branches of blackthorn and wine, on parchment made from sheepskin."

Different places used different styles of scripts. In the last half of the eighth century the 'Carolingian minuscule' or 'Caroline minuscule' script was developed in northern France by Benedictine monks. This wonderful new script "spread throughout the realm of the Carolingians....reaching into modern-day Switzerland, Germany and Italy. Many thousands of manuscripts survive in this script, and its popularity led to its eventual adoption as a model for modern typefaces, such as the one you are reading right now."

While coherent writing systems had been used for about 3,000 years prior to the time of Saint Benedict, much of the ancient writings were lost through the centuries. With the spread of Saint Benedict's writing monks, virtually any ancient manuscript the monks got their hands on by the seventh century has survived to this day. No group has a better record of preservation of written knowledge. And it happened in the scriptorium.

Of course, the other half of this story is the answer to the question, "why did monks copy manuscripts?" So they could read them!  Benedictines are great readers. Great listeners to God through his word. But a Benedictine life also seeks to find better, more efficient ways to work and be self-sufficient. We are stewards. Both prayer and work are essential parts of what makes someone a Benedictine. That's in part why lay people are attracted to the Rule and Benedictine spirituality, we want the correct balance of prayer and work, because our lives are filled with both.   

Quotes from

The top picture

The top picture was taken October 21, 2006.  It is the top of Saint Leo Hall.  That's eleven years ago today.  It's good to keep a pictorial and written record of your time at Saint Leo Abbey. 

In addition to a home shrine and prayer corner/room, you just might consider a scriptorium for writing about your journey to dwell with God and visits to Saint Leo Abbey. 

Note it's not Saint Leo's Abbey. To me the name of the abbey shows no separation. It is not the saint and "his" abbey, but direct without division: Saint Leo Abbey.

Come to think about it, maybe that's Saints Peter and Paul armed with swords in the brilliant illumination behind the cross. 

Saint Leo Abbey Oblates | Saint Leo Abbey