The title of this post is the motto of the canons regular at Geras Abbey, which is Austria’s northernmost abbey just 5 km from the Czech border. In the photo above is Abbot Michael, who was our host for the tour and lunch today. We arrived this morning just in time for Mass, which was in German but I could understand parts of it. Since the “Super Bowl of Soccer” took place in Munich just last night, Abbot Michael’s sermon included several references to European “football” so of course I couldn’t help thinking about Fr. Jim Baraniak!
The interior of the church is quite dark so these photos are not the best, but I hope they give everyone an idea of just how beautiful it is. Like many abbey churches in this part of the world, this one was destroyed and rebuilt several times due to wars and fires. However Geras did not have a lot of money, so many of the surfaces are painted and not real marble. They also reused the Gothic columns that remained standing instead of tearing the church down completely and rebuilding in the Baroque style like many other abbeys did.
On the way to lunch in the abbey refectory we passed this statue of Norbert, and everyone teased Fr. Sal about their similar hairstyles!
Once again we were treated to the radical hospitality that Norbertines worldwide are so famous for, with a hearty lunch and conversation with the confreres who were there today. We were also joined by six young seminarians from around the world who were on a retreat from the International Theological Institute in Vienna.
Thanks to Bonnie Elfner for taking this photo of our table so I actually have one of myself in this post! Bonnie is pictured below greeting the seminarians.