September 3, 2000
volume 11, no. 159

Beatifications for Sunday, September 3, 2000
Beatification of Blessed Dom Columba Joseph Marmion
Benedictine Monk was a giant of 20th Century Spirituality - 1858 - 1923

Taken from Zenit News Organization, August 25, 2000 ZE00082501

    Dom Columba Marmion could well be described as a unique guide for the soul seeking Christ. A Benedictine monk who exercised enormous influence on 20th century spirituality, he will be beatified by John Paul II on Sunday, September 3, along with John XXIII, Pius IX, and William Chaminade.

    Joseph Marmion was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1858. In 1881, five years after being ordained a priest in Rome where he studied, he entered the Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium, and assumed the very Irish name, Columba. He was elected Abbot in 1909, a post he retained until his death in 1923.

    During his time as abbot, his vision of Christian life, profoundly rooted in union with Christ and devotion to Mary, and the wealth of Benedictine liturgical tradition, made Maredsous a focal point of spiritual radiation in Europe.

    His missionary spirit extended throughout the Continent and Holy Land, although he achieved the greatest results, perhaps, in England, when he became the decisive mediator in propitiating the conversion to Catholicism of the Anglican Benedictine men's and women's communities of Caldey and Milford Haven, in southern England.

    Moreover, Abbot Marmion was confessor and great friend of Cardinal Francois Joseph Mercier (1851-1926), another great spiritual leader in Belgium at the time, and a reference point for the country.

    However, Marmion's great influence is due to his works. Perhaps the best known is "Christ, the Life of the Soul." Together with "Christ in his Mysteries," it is one of the sources that has slaked the thirst for God of 20th century men and women. In particular, religious around the world have made his books authentic guides for their spirit. For them he also wrote "Christ the Ideal of the Monk."

    The Abbey of Maredsous, famous for its beer and cheeses, has been outstanding this century for its biblical translations. In recent years, it has built a web information source on the Bible, which can be viewed at: - ZE00082501

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