St Benedict Patron of Europe Association
ASBPE (Associatio Sanctus Benedictus Patronus Europae)
The association was founded in 1967 on the initiative of Bishop Jean Rupp of Monaco and Dom Jean Roy, Abbot of Fontgombault, in collaboration with Bishop François Charrière of Fribourg in Switzerland, and several abbots from France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.
In the spirit of the founders, this association was established to respond to the proclamation of Saint Benedict as patron saint of the European continent issued by Pope Paul VI. The Rule of Saint Benedict has helped to shape the Christian spirit of Europe, and today it still responds to current needs and challenges, and to the immense personal and social needs of our contemporaries.
On 11 July 1988, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed the recognition of the St Benedict Patron of Europe Association as an international association of the faithful.
The founding members established the association with the aim of encouraging the faithful to be like leaven (see Statutes, n. 46) in contemporary society. They are to foster the following values which are promises of renewal for a truly Christian Europe: first of all, attention to the integrity of the faith; prayer and spirituality nourished by Sacred Scripture and the liturgy of the Church; the safeguarding and promotion of Gregorian chant as an authentic treasure of the prayer of the Church; full submission and fidelity to the tradition and magisterium of the Church, as well as filial and loving respect for the Holy Father; families imbued with Christian values, the instruction and education of young people and the deeper study of culture, all according to the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict; advocacy for the dignity of work, the protection of craftsmanship and of farmers, respect for nature and above all for human life; the humanising of social conditions by forming genuine communities; the development of a missionary spirit.
ASBPE members are admitted to the association by co-optation. Though they may not be oblates, members are required to regularly attend a Benedictine or Cistercian monastery. They are to maintain a spiritual rapport with it and strive to apply the Rule of St Benedict in their daily lives through prayer, lectio divina and work imbued with faith. The members contribute to the material life of the association by paying an annual membership fee, the amount of which is determined by the Steering Committee.
The ASBPE is governed collectively by a Steering Committee of a maximum of twelve members elected for five years at the General Assembly. These twelve members elect the President and two Vice Presidents, also for a period of five years. They also elect a Secretary and Treasurer, preferably chosen from among the Steering Committee members. The members of the Committee, the President, the two Vice Presidents, the Secretary and the Treasurer of the Association may be re-elected.
The spiritual advisor of the ASBPE is the abbot of a Benedictine or Cistercian abbey.
Every year the ASBPE organises an international congress open to all. From 1969 to 2019 about fifty congresses were held in various cities or spiritual centres in Europe. In addition, the ASBPE organises an annual pilgrimage to a monastery, a place of spiritual renewal. The national groups of the ASBPE also organise days of study (theological reflection, social issues, education, etc.) and prayer.
The ASBPE has supported various Benedictine abbeys financially and spiritually, and it encourages various youth associations.
The proceedings of the congresses have been collected in three books: St Benedict, a Teacher for Europe, published in 1979; Handbook for the New Evangelisation, published in 1993; Proceedings of recent Congresses, from 2009 to 2016 (limited edition in 2017).
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