WelCom March 2023
Br Jonathan Craven
Southern Star Abbey or Kopua is a Cistercian monastery tucked away in the rolling hills of Tararua in Central Hawkes Bay. Seclusion is part of the monastery’s nature and purpose.
Recently our community celebrated the ‘change of stability’ to Kopua Monastery of three brothers. Aelred, Anselm, and Gregory – originally from the Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of the Philippines, Guimaras Island – officially became monks of Kopua on Sunday 19 February.
‘Change of stability’ sounds like a contradiction! Cistercian monks make a vow of stability, committing to a place and community for life. On rare occasions a brother may change his stability for a greater good; in this case it’s to bolster the numbers of the community here at Kopua.
Since they arrived in late 2018 the brothers have already made their home here, contributing in a variety of ways to our life.
Br Aelred has turned our unused and overgrown vegetable garden into a very productive source of nutrition for everyone, even expanding its size. And he’s built a chicken coop to house a small number of chickens who supply us fresh eggs and provide music to our ears in the morning with the roosters crowing. Since he’s been here Br Aelred has also learnt to play the organ and fills that role during the Divine Office.
Br Gregory is studying for the priesthood and is one of our cantors leading the singing when we’re in choir. Br Gregory is also a great cook who keeps us well fed.
Br Anselm brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. He was formerly an Augustinian before joining the Cistercian Order and has studied for four years in Rome. He helps to maintain the grounds amongst other necessary tasks that keep things running smoothly.
All of the brothers have made a wonderful contribution to the monastery and brought great joy to the community. Their presence has reminded us of the significance of the vow of stability in Cistercian life. Rather than joining ‘the Cistercians’ we join a particular Cistercian monastery or abbey. This deepens our commitment to place and community, as we together seek the Lord.
Part of the Cistercian charism is to offer hospitality through the monastery guest house, and all visitors and guests are welcome to the seven times of prayer, which punctuate the monks’ day.
Visit kopuamonastery.org.nz for more about the Cistercian brothers and Kopua monastery.