One year shy of 100 years of involvement in the Bahama missions and 23 years after Saint Augustine’s Monastery there became independent, the abbey chapter voted to retum the Bahamas community to the status of monastic dependence on the community here. The vote, taken 4 june, followed a lengthy discussion of all the aspects of re-assuming mission responsibilities in the islands.
Since 1891, Benedictines from Saint ]ohn’s have labored in the Bahama Islands in a diversified missionary effort as pastors, builders and teachers. Father Chrysostom Schreiner was the first monk of Saint ]ohn’s to do pastoral work there.
But it was not until 1947 that a community routine of worship and work was established with the founding of Saint Augustine’s Monastery on a 200-acre plot on the eastem edge of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. The major works of the native Bahamian and American monks have been to operate Saint Augustine’s College, a co-educational school, as well as to continue pastoral ministry in the various parishes and out-islands.
When, in 1967, the Bahamas community had increased enough in numbers of native vocations to become an independent community, the abbey chapter here made it fully independent. Not long thereafter, for as number of reasons discussed during the recent chapter vote here, a considerable number of members left the community and outside assistance was needed to continue the monastic activities.
Thus, Abbot Jerome of Saint John’s was eventually appointed Apostolic Administrator in 1981. He was given the personal responsibility of directing the community while it maintained its independent status. With the recent abbey chapter vote, Saint Augustine’s new, re-assumed status as a dependent community means that its future direction and welfare are now the responsibility of all Saint John’s Abbey confreres as a whole. For more data, see the Spring, 1990 issue of the Quarterly.
Saint John’s Abbey Quarterly