Friday, October 13, 2017


In  a Blog last week I  wrote of the great Benedictine Bl. Dom Marmion. While he is  well known for his writings, many are unaware of his disciples and the correspondence he conducted with men and women throughout the world, especially religious men and women who turned to him for spiritual direction.
I have just finished his biography and am astounded that someone in his position had the time to write so much.

One of his  disciples was a monk, DOM PIUS de HEMPTINNE who left behind precious spiritual writings of his own. In a recent reading of the life of Bl. Marmion, I came across this monk and wondered who he was, especially since he had the same last name as the then abbot.

This holy young monk lived from 1897-1907 in the Abbey of Maredsous. I cannot find much more about him, though know he was the nephew of  Dom Hildebrand de Hemptinne, the  second Abbot  (and later first Abbot primate of the Benedictine Order) of the Belgian Abbey where Bl. Marmion became the 3rd Abbot.  This young monk's aunt, Dame Cecile de Hemptinne, was the first abbess of St. Scholastica's Abbey at Maredret (just a few miles from Maredsous).  He also had a brother, Dom Jean, who was a monk in the same abbey.

Born of a noble Belgian family in 1880 he died at the age of  27, of an illness I could not determine. After his ordination to the priesthood he was made housemaster at the abbey school.  He was always fail in health and in his last months he returned home to be nursed by family (not uncommon in those days). Dom Marmion was with him in his last days, giving him solace and blessings.      

Some of his treasured writings, which I share, I found from the monks at Silverstream in Meath, Ireland. His prayers and meditations are magnificent, though sometimes highly intricate and stylized. Many of his spiritual thoughts were inspired by the conferences and lectures of Bl. Marmion.

Dom Pius  gave expression to a profoundly Benedictine fusion of liturgy, personal prayer, and the whole of life, including the message of the natural world. His message encourages us to live ever more deeply the meaning of the sacred mysteries, never mind the wording, which is from another era- the message is timeless!

His famous relatives: Dom Hildebrand &  Aunt Agnes (Cecile)

O Jesus, from this day forward grant that the souls given into my care may drawn from my poor heart the grace that Thou givest me. It is Thou Thyself who hungerest; eat, then, and drink all that Thou findest in my poor house. May my soul be a manger where Thy lambs can be filled with Thee. (1902, pp. 148–49)

Most holy and eternal Father, your divine Son has taught us that no one can come to Him unless you draw him, and that none shall be lost of those whom you have given Him. I beg of you, therefore, in the name of the mutual love you bear to Him and He to you, to offer me and all whom I love to this divine Son, begotten of you, so that being born again in Him, your Word, we may have a share in the eternal glory which He gives to you, and that we may thus be sanctified in you.

 Eternal Son, whose holiness is equal to that of the Father, you have promised that “when lifted up from the earth, you would draw all to yourself.” Draw me, then, to you, O well-beloved of my soul, that being fed by you I may live by you, even as you live by your Father.

 Holy Spirit, who descended upon the Virgin to accomplish the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, come down upon me, O joy of my heart and strength of my soul! Impregnate me, to the end that Jesus Christ may grow in me, so that by your power, the closest union may be effected between my Savior and my poor soul, inflamed by your love.

O adorable Trinity, look down and behold how I burn with longing to glorify you — see how my soul shrinks into nothingness — see how little it is — how it abandons itself utterly to you! . . . I love you by the Heart of Jesus and by every one of the souls on earth, and therefore I will bring them all to you. To this end, Christ Jesus, only object of my desires, I take refuge in the bosom of your Father, and in His Name I give you all these precious souls, that not one of them may perish. Uniting myself to you, I offer them all to the Father, for the eternal honor and glory of the most adorable Trinity. Amen. (1901)

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