The Financial Picture of Saint John’s Abbey

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“Abbot John Klassen has given his assurance that financial gifts from our benefactors and funds from the university, prep school and The Liturgical Press are not and will never be used in the payment of settlements in the sexual abuse cases involving community members. Financial compensations to victims of sexual abuse by monks come rather from the labor of the abbey’s monks.” – Benedict Leuthner, 2003

The Financial Picture of Saint John’s Abbey
by Benedict Leuthner, OSB

I welcome the opportunity to give you the financial picture of Saint John’s Abbey. I will explain briefly why it is a picture of solvency, not of affluence.

The monastic community is smaller than it was years ago. There were almost four hundred members in the 1950s. The community now numbers about 185 monks. Once we were yearly blessed with a dozen or more novices. Today’s novices come to us by fours or threes or ones.

The community has grown older. We have more monks in their 70s, 80s and 90s. This increase in age brings a decrease of income. Caring for elderly and ailing members means a substantial increase in health and retirement costs. The level of care given the twenty-six residents of our health care facility is more personnel intensive now than it was years ago. More costly prescription drugs are needed as well as more nurses.

For a long time the abbey put aside money for health care needs in anticipation of this demographic shift. But that fund is now inadequate due to the rapid increase in medical costs. Like everyone else, our investments have declined due to a recession and a bear market. For generations the abbey has been passive in its fund raising efforts. The community was guided by the “pay our own way” principle.

The abbey has decreased its lay house-keeping staff and monks are assuming these duties. Major expenditures have been reduced. The abbey’s annual grant to Saint John’s University has been reduced by $130,000 and to Saint John’s Preparatory School by $20,000. Further reductions may be necessary.

Abbot John Klassen has given his assurance that financial gifts from our benefactors and funds from the university, prep school and The Liturgical Press are not and will never be used in the payment of settlements in the sexual abuse cases involving community members. Financial compensations to victims of sexual abuse by monks come rather from the labor of the abbey’s monks.

Lest I give you a doom-and-gloom picture, I assure you that the abbey is not on the verge of bankruptcy. But we do need your financial help. We need to encourage our families, friends, oblates, benefactors and other associates to help us now as we plan for the future. For example, our long-time dream for the abbey guest house has not diminished.

Saint John’s Abbey continues to be blessed with a solid core of talented, generous and dedicated monks. We have every intention of continuing to pray fervently and work hard “that in all things God may be glorified.” We hope that you will stay with us and support us as we move into the new millennium.

The Financial Picture of Saint John’s Abbey
Benedict Leuthner, OSB
Abbey Banner- Winter, 2003

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Topics: Abbey Statistics, Benedict Leuthner, John Klassen, Settlement Information

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