Visitators visit St. Peter’s Abbey

Two monks from the United States visited St  Peter’s Abbey Nov. 11-14 to conduct a visitation. The visitors were Prior Bradley Jenniges of St. John’s Abbey (Minnesota), centre left, and Abbot Placid Solari of Belmont Abbey (North Carolina).  A visitation is a periodic examination of monastic life as lived at St. Peter’s. They discussed their report with the community on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 14.

Pray for the dead

November is the traditional month to pray for the dead. During the month the pictures of the deceased monks of Saint Peter’s Abbey are displayed in church. Fr. Paul and Fr. Joseph were the monks who died this past year.

Br. Denys at Saint John’s in Minnesota

Br. Denys arrived at Saint John’s Abbey on August 26 to study for the priesthood.  It is located in Collegeville, Minnesota. He is taking several classes at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, including New Testament, moral theology, and Christian history.  He is featured in the photo below with Fr. Michael Patella, the Rector of the Seminary.  Br. Denys says “hello” to his confreres and friends back in Saskatchewan, and cannot wait to see them at Christmas.


Memorial for Fr. Paul

St. Peter’s Cathedral parish, Muenster, celebrated a Memorial Mass for Fr. Paul Paproski Sunday, Oct. 10, Thanksgiving Day. Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided and Fr. Paul’s parents, sister, and brother-in-law attended, along with pastor Fr. Demetrius.


Thanksgiving Day

Joseph Do arranged a beautiful Thanksgiving Day display at St. Peter’s Abbey Church. The monks have a lot to be thankful for this year on Thanksgiving Day, October 11 2021.

Trimming dead trees

Oblate Br. Don Claerhout came to the Abbey Sept. 22 and volunteered to cut down some dead trees and trim dead branches. The trees were planted some 80 years ago.



St. Peter’s College awards

Abbot Peter gave out $108,000 in scholarships and bursaries to students of St. Peter’s College the week of Sept.  20. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the annual Scholarship Awards ceremony and banquet was cancelled for the second year in a row. One of the recipients was Harry Salmon.

Remembering Fr. Joseph Ackerman, OSB

Fr. Joseph Ackerman, OSB, died in the Humboldt Hospital in the early morning of Sept. 22.

Baptized Peter at his birth in Balgonie on Sept. 20, 1924, Fr. Joseph was one of 15 children in the family of Andrew and Emilia Ackerman. His father was employed by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Co., which necessitated moving to various locations. He received his early education in Wolseley, Estevan and Regina. After a brief period of employment, Fr. Joseph enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, serving oversees in the Second World War from 1943-45.

A new direction was taken by Fr. Joseph from 1947-51 when he attended St. Peter’s College in Muenster and then entered the Order of St. Benedict where he received his name “Joseph.”  He took his seminary studies at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn. and was ordained to the priesthood, June 8, 1958 at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Muenster. Following ordination Fr. Joseph taught at St. Peter’s High School, assisted in various parishes, served as assistant business manager at St. Peter’s Abbey and became pastor of the Muenster and St. Gregory parishes.

In 1970, he went on a sabbatical where he studied at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and then at Duke University, Durham, N.C. In 1971 he was appointed pastor of St. Anthony and St. James parishes, Lake Lenore. His next assignment was the Pilger and Middle Lake parishes. He then served the parishes of Bruno and Peterson. He retired as a full-time pastor in 2016 at the age of 91. The next year, Fr. Joseph moved to Prairie View retirement home in Bruno.

Known for his sense of humour and gentle disposition, Fr. Joseph was well well liked by his parishioners. Wherever Fr. Joseph served, he was active in parish and community groups. He joined them at coffee row and at sports events. A local park in Bruno was named in his honour. Fr. Joseph loved reading and sharing his knowledge and wisdom in his homilies. He enjoyed the outdoors having a fondness for hunting, fishing, skating, hockey and golf.

August thunderstorm

August brought an end to summer with a raucous thunderstorm with lots of thunder and lightning on Aug. 31. It amounted to 3 inches of rain which was about the amount we received all summer.

Mt. Carmel Pilgrimage

The 99th annual pilgrimage at Mt. Carmel was celebrated Sunday, July 18. It turned out to be a beautiful, cool day with more than 300 pilgrims present. Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided at the festive Mass.

Br. Denys makes first vows

Br. Denys Janiga professed temporary vows at Sts. Peter and Paul Abbey Church on July 10, 2021. He has completed his novitiate year and is looking forward to priesthood studies at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Minnesota this fall.

Summer retreat

The monks made their annual retreat with Fr. Ron Rolheiser via Zoom July 5-8. The theme of the retreat was “Wrestling with God — resistance and surrender within our journey.” It was the second year we made our retreat via Zoom because of the pandemic.

Irrigating the garden

The summer heat spell and the drought had the Abbey crew set up the garden irrigation system on June 29. It was the first time in many years we had to irrigate.

School bus serves abbey employees

Vincent Nguyen and Lydia Mai accompany their daughters, Lan and Chi, to the school bus. They are in Grades 3 and pre-school respectively. The Muenster school bus has been coming to the abbey for the past two years to pick them up.  June 28 is the last day of school.

Flags at half-mast

The discovery of over 750 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School at Cowessess First Nations led to the flags at the entrance to the Abbey being lowered to half-mast June 24. This is in solidarity with the Saskatchewan bishops who are committed to walk in solidarity with the residential school survivors and their families and communities.

Planting tomatoes

Br. Denys prepares some wind protection for the tomato plants in the garden. The community hopes for an abundant crop of tomatoes this fall.

Beautiful spring rain

A beautiful spring rain that started on May 23, Pentecost Sunday, ended a spring drought in Saskatchewan. Farmers and gardeners are rejoicing. This rain gauge shows the amount of rain at the Abbey which also resulted in a slight frost the morning of May 26.

Solar panel construction

On May 14 Sundawg Solar company crew started assembling the mounting structure that will hold the solar panels in place when they are installed in a few weeks.

Solar project begins

The supports for the solar panels at St. Peter’s Abbey arrived on May 7. The first row of piles was driven into the ground that afternoon. 

Monks wake up to fresh snow

Just when we thought the warm weather might be here to stay a low pressure system dumped some snow throughout April 11 and 12. The farmers’ fields will benefit from the moisture.

Tomatoes transplanted

Br. Kurt and Br. Basil check out the tomatoes they transplanted into the greenhouse April 5. Br. Kurt promises lots of tomatoes for this fall.

Vaccination time

Fr. Richard got his vaccine shot on March 31 at St. Augustine Church in Humboldt. The first community members to receive the shot two weeks earlier were Frs. Daniel and Joseph.

St. Joseph honoured

On the solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19, St. Joseph’s statue was moved into the Abbey church. St. Joseph was proclaimed patron of the universal church 150 years ago and Pope Francis has written a special letter honouring him. He proclaimed this the year of St. Joseph.

Abbey approves solar energy project

Our monastic community voted March 11 to move forward with installing a 100 KW solar energy system for St. Peter’s Abbey. It is anticipated that the sun will provide half of the power the Abbey uses over the year. Stay tuned for updates.

Lent 2021

Two banners and a cactus beside the altar mark the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday at the St. Peter’s Abbey church.

Fr. Paul Paproski dies

A life in full bloom in our community was struck down suddenly at the age of 57. Without warning, Fr. Paul Paproski was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease Nov. 27, 2019. It cleared up the mystery of why he was limping that summer with his left leg and unable to get up when he fell. After many months of suffering, he died on Jan. 28 in the Humboldt Hospital.

Fr. Paul was pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Muenster for five years. Ordained on Aug. 12, 2006 at the same Muenster cathedral, Fr. Paul lived at St. Peter’s Abbey and served in a number of surrounding parishes as pastor or assistant. Muenster was his last assignment and during his term the chapel in Muenster was sold and he celebrated daily mass at the Wolverine Heights retirement home.

Born in Lanigan to Ardel and Freda Paproski in 1963, he moved with his family to Hudson Bay, Sask. in 1971. He grew up there with his brother Perry and his sisters Gwen and Glenda. Fr. Paul took a degree in journalism after high school. He then worked as editor of the Hudson Bay Review for seven years before joining St. Peter’s Abbey in 1998.

He was the first St. Peter’s monk to study philosophy and theology at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA. St. Vincent’s is the mother abbey of the St. Peter’s community that was first founded in 1892 near Wetaug, Ill. and transferred to Muenster in 1903. In his studies he specialized in monastic history.

At St. Peter’s Abbey, Fr. Paul put his talents to work in a variety of ways. His artistic photographs adorn many rooms and hallways. He taught in the formation program and served as junior master for many years. He became involved with engaged encounter weekends at the abbey. He got his master’s degree in Canadian history from the University of Saskatchewan. He headed the abbey Oblate program and published a newsletter for them and also edited the abbey newsletter. He worked as campus minister in the Men in Black program for the students at St. Peter’s College.

Fr. Paul had a quiet and shy personality which attracted many people to his ministry.

Christmas creche at Abbey

Visitors to St. Peter’s Abbey are greeted with this contemporary Christmas creche depicting men and women of various trades and cultures that Jesus came to announce the good news for.

Fr. Paul at the Abbey

Fr. Paul continues to be taken care of at St. Peter’s Abbey. He is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since December 3, his cousin Theresa has been providing volunteer support during the night. Monks provide assistance during the day.

Major storm

A major snowstorm hit Saskatchewan the weekend of Nov. 8. Brother Basil had to get up early to clear out the snow.

Confreres remembered in November

November is a special month to pray for the deceased. Friday, November 6, is a special day for praying for the deceased of our community. Their pictures will be displayed in our church this month.

Wheelchair van

The Abbey has acquired a new wheelchair-accessible van.  It will make it easier for Fr. Paul to visit people and attend meetings.  Fr. Demetrius is shown here assisting him into the van for his upcoming trip.  

Benedictine veterans honoured

During the month of November, the Village of Muenster is honouring veterans who served in the war.  Among them are three Benedictine monks: Fr. Cosmas Krumplemann, who served in World War I; Fr. Al Herriges, who served as a Chaplain in World War II; and Fr. Joe Ackerman, who also served in World War II.  The banners are hanging around the village.

Abbot Peter re-elected

St. Peter’s Abbey held an abbatial election on October 27.  It was a first in that Abbot President John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, presided over the election via Zoom.  Archbishop Don Bolan, an oblate of St. Peter’s Abbey, was present to assist in the election, which saw Fr. Peter Novecosky re-elected as abbot.  He had resigned upon reaching the age of 75 in April.  Also shown is Fr. Daniel Muyres who was secretary of the election process.

Happy anniversary

On August 12 Fr. Paul was joined by family and friends to celebrate the 14th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Congratulations Fr. Paul!

Saskatoon berries plentiful

Picking this year’s crop of Saskatoon berries begins on July 22. Freda and Ardel Paproski came for the annual event, assisted by residents of St. Peter’s Abbey.  Abbey guest Joseph washes the berries before they get packaged and frozen.

Summer renovations

Renovations have begun to the foyer of the St. Peter’s College gym and arena. The new roof is being put on the flat roof and is expected to be completed in a month’s time.

Farewell celebration

The Muenster Parish had a farewell celebration for Fr. Paul on Sunday afternoon July 12 at St. Peter’s Abbey. Fr. Paul has been Pastor at the Muenster Parish for five years and is being replaced by Father Demetrius.

The celebration included a ride to the Parish for morning mass in a special convertible car and a come-and-go tea in the afternoon. The car was manufactured in 1963, the same year Fr. Paul was born.

Novice joins community

Robert Janiga, from the Toronto area, was invested as a novice with St. Peter’s Abbey on July 11. He was given the name Br. Denys and will make a year long novitiate. July 11 is the feast day of Saint Benedict, the patriarch of Western Europe.  

Last week of Advent

In the week before Christmas special “O” antiphons are used at Vespers. Each day celebrates a particular title of Jesus. Brother Basil shows Theo some symbols made by Sister Rita of the Ursulines of Bruno which were donated to the Abbey a few years ago

Donation of Haskap berries

Benedict Oblate Craig Larson made a donation of Haskap berries during his visit to the Abbey on Oct. 26. Receiving the berries gratefully are Abbot Peter, Br. Basil, and Fr. Demetrius. The berries will be made into jams and jellies which have become very popular.

Fr. Cosmas moves to Nova Scotia

Fr. Cosmas Epifano, right, agreed to become chaplain for Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Nova Scotia for a group of Augustinian contemplative nuns. He will live in a hermitage on their grounds. He left St. Peter’s Abbey Oct. 16 and is shown with Br. Basil.

95th birthday celebrations

Father Joe turned 95 on Sept. 20. He’s the oldest monk of Saint Peter’s Abbey. He had a double celebration, first at dinner with a group of friends at Prairie View Home in Bruno and at supper with the monks at Saint Peters Abbey.

Visit To Rosthern

Br. Luis Cruz, left, Br. Benedict Van Ginkel and Br. Denys Janiga, OSB visited the former train station in Rosthern where the first settlers arrived in 1903 to St. Peter’s Colony.
The first settlers arrived in 1903 by rail to Rosthern and traveled by foot or horse to their new homesteads some 100 kilometres away.
The train station is now an arts centre.

Trip to Batoche

Brs. Luis Cruz, OSB and Benedict Van Ginkel, right, visited Batoche National Historic Site on August 16.
Behind them is St. Antoine de Padoue Church.
Fr. Paul Paproski, OSB, taking the photo, accompanied them.

Mount Carmel Sunday July 21 2019

Scenes from Mount Carmel Sunday on July 21.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen joined the Benedictines for lunch after Mass, July 21, on Mount Carmel Sunday.
Bishop Mark was the celebrant for Mass.
St. Peter’s Abbey Oblate Annette Zawada gives some baking to Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB and Bishop Mark.

Saskatoon Berries 2019

Joseph started picking the annual Saskatoon berry crop the afternoon of July 18. The berries look good and abundant this year.

Fr. Paul washes the berries and packages them for use in the winter.

New cook arrives

David Nguyen, in the blue shirt, and his family arrived July 18 and will be living at Saint Peter’s Abbey. David was a chef in Hanoi, Vietnam. He is the brother of Father Thuy, in white shirt, of the archdiocese or Regina.

Clergy Sports Day 2019

Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Diocese of Saskatoon visit with Fr. Demetrius Wasylyniuk, OSB.
They were among the participants of the annual Knights of Columbus Clergy Sports Day.
Fr. Demetrius, guest master of St. Peter’s Abbey, helped facilitate the event.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen kicks the ball past Br. Denys Janiga, OSB at the Annual Knights of Columbus Clergy Sports Day.
The event was held July 15 and 16 at St. Peter’s Abbey.
Soccer was one of the popular activities.

Oblate Day July 13 2019

Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB was the celebrant, July 13, at Oblate Day Mass.
Richard Leuschen, left, Kathy Tumback of Humboldt and Margaret Meckelborg of Muenster became Oblates.

Br. Denys Janiga, OSB gave a presentation, July 13, to the Oblates on St. Anselm.

Writers at Saint Peter’s

St. Peter’s is a favourite location for writers to come and write their books. More than 30 writers were here at the beginning of July. They find the peace and quiet conducive to their location.

General chapter group photo

Abbot Peter and Fr. Paul were among the abbots and delegates from 19 Abbeys attending the 53rd general chapter of the American Cassinese Congregation at St. Anselm’s Abbey in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was held June 15 to 21.

General chapter

Fr. Paul and Abbot Peter attended the general chapter of the American Cassinese congregation June 15 to 21. Abbots and delegates from 19 abbeys were present at St. Anselm‘s Abbey in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Beautiful rainfall

The Abbey and area received a beautiful gentle rain on June 15 that amounted to 3 inches. This will make the farmers and gardeners very happy. This was the first rainfall of this summer.

Vespers in Cemetery

The Benedictines of St. Peter’s Abbey celebrate Vespers, May 28, in the abbey cemetery.
The office is held in the cemetery, each year, on one day of the annual abbey retreat.
Abbot Primate Gregory Polan, OSB is the retreat master for 2019.

Kathy Tumback Farewell

St. Peter’s Abbey hosted a coffee social, May 23, for Kathy Tumback who is retiring as business office manager. Staff and friends of St. Peter’s Abbey and College attended.
Kathy has been employed in the abbey business office for 13 years.
Fr. Demetrius Wasylyniuk, OSB helps Kathy serve cake.

Greenhouse Update May 23 2019

Here is Br. Kurt planting strawberries in the Abbey Greenhouse. The cuttings were provided by Br. Benedict’s sister.

Here is the state of our tomatoes. The first crop should be ready about Canada Day.