Wednesday, 30 July 2008 08:31
Written by Joe Waters
The Abbey of Mary, Help of Christians (Belmont Abbey) is a small Benedictine community and college, with a very noble history of evangelization and missionary zeal, in the verdant foothills near Charlotte in Western North Carolina. Belmont is a daughter of St Vincent's in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and was founded by a group of monks led by the indomitable Abbot Leo Haid in 1876. Before a diocese was established in North Carolina in 1924 (the Diocese of Raleigh) the Abbot of Belmont had succeeded Cardinal James Gibbons as the Vicar-Apostolic and the monks had responsibility for many of the parishes, missions, and stations in North and South Carolina. The Abbey remained a territorial abbey with territory comprising some of the surrounding counties with the Abbot exercising episcopal authority until the Holy See suppressed the territory shortly after the erection of the Diocese of Charlotte in the mid-1970's.
I have the privilege of being a Benedictine Oblate of Belmont and since all of my family is from the Western Carolinas we well know the influence of the monks and their college (the current governor of North Carolina is an alumnus). Furthermore, their history is an excellent study in evangelization and home mission, since it was primarily their witness that drew many in those early days of the North Carolina mission to Catholicism, because they, as all Benedictines do, presented the Christian society in microcosm and offered a taste of it to Protestant North Carolina. In so doing, they drew many to the Faith and some even to the monastic life.
The spirit of mission and evangelization continues...
The Abbot of Belmont has recently begun a one-minute a day radio spot dedicated to exploring "the timeless wisdom of the Rule of St Benedict." It does not appear that you can listen to any of these spots on their website
, but you can order a free copy of the Rule from the site and find out more about bringing "One Minute Monk" to a Catholic radio station in your area.