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Feast day of St. Benedict brings alumnus back home

Noelle Hinrickson converses with students during the St. Benedict luncheon. This year’s feast included steak, potatoes, and dinner rolls.

Staff, students, and the monastic community joined for Mass and lunch on March 21 for the Feast Day of St. Benedict. For the monastic community, they were happy to see a familiar face.

Fr. Daniel Petsche attended Mount Michael during its first year when it was known as St. John’s Seminary. Back then, he felt the same community felt now at Mount Michael.

“Those early years were filled with the challenges of starting a new school from scratch, but there was a spirit of cooperation in the school and an excitement for the future,” he said.

Fr. Daniel also performed mass which was held in the gym. His homily was full of insightful wisdom as well as information about the Feast Day of St. Benedict.

“You young men have to decide where the Lord is calling you to be your best self. For some it might be the balanced life of prayer, work, and community of the monastery right here, for others it might be another way of life,” he said.

 After Mass there was a communal lunch which took place on the stage and in the armory.

“The dining staff did a good job feeding the community, and of course, Fr. John’s cookies were nice,” Eli Crnkovich ‘21 said.

Like students today, Fr. Daniel’s days at Mount Michael where filled with hiking around the gullies, participating in choir, and playing all kinds of sports. Without a track or gym, he and his classmates played outside.

“Part of [starting from] scratch was making an athletic field in the corn field. So as soon as the corn was harvested and a road grader leveled the field, Voila! we had our all weather athletic field,” Fr. Daniel said.

In the end, Fr. Daniel reminded the community of its roots. To find a balanced life based in Benedictine spirituality, he suggested a way to take charge of faith.

“We need a special kind of GPS to find it – its letters mean God’s Particular Service — it has to be charged with concentration, generosity and wisdom to follow Christ,” he said.

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