July 15, 2014
Communications and Marketing
Three Saint Anselm alumni professed vows to Saint Anselm Abbey on Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12 in the Abbey Church at Saint Anselm College.
On July 11, the Feast of St. Benedict, Bro. Paul LeSage, O.S.B., and Bro. Ignatius Membrino, O.S.B., professed simple vows to the monastery. Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., then presented each with his monastic habit (scapula, collar, and hood) and a copy of the Rule of Saint Benedict.
Through their temporary profession of vows, Bros. Paul and Ignatius begin their three-year "juniorate" phase where they embrace the vows of the Order of St. Benedict. Upon completing three years and careful prayer and deliberation, they may petition the monastic community to profess solemn vows and become permanent community members. Read more about becoming a monk.
Bro. Paul also known as Scott LeSage from Manchester, N.H., graduated from Saint Anselm in 2006 with a degree in theology. Bro. Ignatius also known as Andrew Membrino from Billerica, Mass., graduated from Saint Anselm in 2008 with a degree in theology.
The following day, on July 12, Bro. Stephen Lawson, O.S.B., was received into the monastic community as a solemnly professed monk. Standing before his confreres, Bro. Stephen took the three vows of the Order of St. Benedict: stability, obedience and conversatio morum to permanently join the community.
The Benedictines are the only Catholic religious order to profess conversatio, which means conversion of life and represents an ongoing dedication to growth in monastic life.
Bro. Stephen, originally from Holyoke, Mass., comes from a family of 10. He was known as Brian Lawson when he graduated from Saint Anselm with a bachelor of arts in politics in 2008. As a student, he attended Mass and retreats, becoming well acquainted with the monastic community. Upon graduation, he worked as a reporter for PolitickerNH.com and the Live Free or Die Alliance before he joined the monastery as an observer in January 2010.
When he considered a religious vocation, Saint Anselm Abbey seemed like the best fit. "It appealed to me how the monks live out the Benedictine Rule," said Bro. Stephen.
He is currently attending Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Indiana, to earn his master of arts in divinity. He hopes to be ordained a priest upon completing four years of school.
The importance of sacraments in Catholic life heavily influenced his decision towards the priesthood.
"I decided to become a priest so that I can make Christ present to people," said Bro. Stephan. "A priest being able to bring the Eucharist moved me."
The Order of St. Benedict in New Hampshire was established in 1889 and founded Saint Anselm College.
Photos by Kevin Harkins (top to bottom)
- On the Feast of Saint Benedict, Bro. Paul and Bro. Ignatius profess simple vows. Back row: (left to right) Fr. Peter Guerin, Abbot Mark Cooper, Bishop Joseph Gerry, Fr. Mathias Durette; front row: (left to right) Bro. Ignatius Membrino and Bro. Paul LeSage
- Abbot Mark Cooper at Bro. Stephen's Mass to celebrate his profession of solemn vows
- Bro. Stephen Lawson is received by the monastic community at Saint Anselm Abbey. Back row: (left to right) Fr. Peter Guerin, Abbot Mark Cooper, Bishop Joseph Gerry, Fr. Mathias Durette; front row: (left to right) Bro. Stephen Lawson and Bro. Isaac Murphy.