29th May 2014
On Monday, 26th May 2014, Saint Martin's Abbey's Monastic Chapter met. On the recommendation of Abbot Neal G. Roth, O.S.B., and his Council, the Chapter accepted Brother Martin de Porres (Thang) Dinh, O.S.B., for his first vows as a member of the Abbey community. At the present time, Brother Martin is completing his novitiate, a period of a year and a day mandated by Church Law to introduce a candidate to the monastic life, under the direction of Father Gerard Kirsch, O.S.B., Novice Master. During his novitiate, Brother Martin has shared the "ora et labora" -- the prayer and work -- of the monastic community. He also took classes, in house, and was assigned readings on spirituality and the monastic life by his novice master.
Thang Dinh was born in an agricultural village south of Saigon, Vietnam, and immigrated to the United States as a child of nine. After completing his high school education at Henry Foss High School, Tacoma, Washington, he explored a vocation to the diocesan priesthood, studying for several years at Bishop White Seminary, Spokane, Washington. Culturally, however, young Thang Dinh felt the need of the strength and support afforded by a religious community.
Through a college classmate, Thang learned of Saint Martin's Abbey. With the support of Abbot Neal, then vocation director father Paul Weckert, O.S.B., and our present vocation director Father Peter Tynan, O.S.B., Thang discerned his call to God. After discerning for some months within the monastery, a time called the "postulancy", Thang Dinh entered the novitiate last summer. "Putting on the new man" Thang was given Saint Martin de Porres as his patron in religious life. Brother Martin de Porres has always had a special devotion to Saint Martin de Porres, the patron saint of his native Vietnam, and has always admired the humility and quietness of this saint who sought God through doing very ordinary things.
Abbot Neal will receive Brother Martin' de Porres' vows at a pontifical Mass on 11th July 2014 in the presence of his brother monks, family and friends. Brother Martin's formal monastic formation as a Junior Monk will continue under the direction of Father Gerard, who also serves as Junior Master. Brother Martin will most likely be given a regular assignment within the monastic community, and will be enrolled in classes at Saint Martin's University in order to complete his B.A. degree. His future may well include working with the infirm and the elderly within our community.
Brother Martin finds the monastic life at Saint Martin's a good fit for him. His sense of a supportive community, a balanced life, with time for prayer, spiritual reading, and work, has nurtured him during his time at the Abbey. The writings of Dom Columban Marmion, O.S.B., Basil Cardinal Hume, O.S.B., and Saint Francis de Sales, all of whom he was introduced to at Saint Martin's, have served to strengthen his spiritual life. Reading, drinking tea and working with bonsai are his favorite means of relaxation. His monastic community welcomes Brother Martin de Porres wholeheartedly, and wishes him a long life seeking God within the Saint Martin's Abbey community. # # # # #
Image to Left: Bronze statue of Saint Benedict by Simon Kogan, 1995