Mother of the Redeemer

Latest News


Christmas visit to Fr. Bernie in Nursing home

Xmas with Bernie   Fr. Bernie Lebeidz has been living at Our Lady of Promp Succor Nursing Home since early 2017. On December 11, 2018, the Nursing Home had its annual Christmas party for its residents and the monastery community joined Fr. Bernie to celebrate. Pictured on the right is Fr. James, Fr. Bernie, Br. Gregory; and behind, Brandon Leblanc, our new postulant, Santa,  C. J. an Oblate, and Br. Laurent.  Later in December, Fr. Bernie turned 95 years old.  

Bishop Deshotel visits the monastery

Most Rev. J. Douglas Deshotel, the bishop of our diocease in Lafayette, Louisiana honored us with his first visit to the monastery to take part in our celebrating the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8 with our oblates. Bishop Deshotel celebrated the Mass for us, joined by four  oblate priests and deacons. As part of the celebration, Fr. Taj Glodd, pastor of nearby St. Joseph Church in Plaisance, became an oblate novice of the monastery. After the Mass there was a festive pot luck meal in the Hall for all who attended. Bishop Deshotel was given a tour of the monastery buildings and grounds and a chance to become aquainted with the community members. 

New Driveway Created

add mtlOn July 30, 2018, several large dump trucks came and placed fill material along a path that was cleared and graded a year earlier through our wooded area on the northwest  part of our property. Neighbor and Oblate Danny Doucet did most of the work to create the driveway. After the fill was placed in a series of  piles, Danny graded it to allow draining. The new driveway provides direct access to Apple Road and will eventually replace the entrance from Tower Rd.

_________________ 2017 _____________________

Br. Laurent makes Simple Profession

Laurent and James   On March 25th, at Mass with our Oblates, Br. Laurent Abila O.S.B., made his First Profession of vows before abbot James, and the monastic community. The vows are for a period of three years.  Br Laurent joined us in the fall of 2015 after ending his service with the U. S. Army. He is 46 years old.
   Br. Laurent serves the monastery in a variety of roles. He is our sacristan for the chapel, performs housekeeping for the common areas of the monastery. He helps Fr. James with grocery shopping and often cooks the main meal for the community. He provides haircuts when needed, and will sometimes add a song with his voice and guitar at Sunday Mass. Lately, he has been caring for our small herd of goats in the back woods.
   Earlier this year he visited and made a retreat at Holy Cross Monastery in Rostrevor, No. Ireland, a monastery in our Congregation. On. May 26th, Br. Laurent was installed in the ministries of Lector and Acolyte. 

Expansion of Chapel Planned

retreat groupOur chapel has been feeling smaller as we sometimes have more than 30 people attend our Sunday Masses.  Late last year we received a gift of $100,000 to serve as a starter for expanding our chapel. Fr. James retained an architect who studied our current structure and proposed a few alternative plans. The plan and elevation shown is the one selected. The plan would raise the altar, add pews for 44 more people, provide a properly furnished Reconciliation Room, and add a detached bell tower. There is a poster is on display in our gift shop. A projected cost would be at least $225,000. We already have raised $21,000  more in addition to the initial gift. If you want to help us enlarge our chapel, you can send a tax deductible donation to us designated for the Chapel project.

_________________ 2016 _____________________

Br. Jude Enters Novitiate

greet new noviceBr. Jude port

On Vespers of all Saints Day, Jude R.S. Fernando was clothed with the habit and became a novice monk at Mother of the Redeemer. Br. Jude, as he is now known, was born in Sri Lnka on December 26, 1971 and grew up in Negombo. His parents are Manuel John Fernando and Mary Agnes Peiris, devout Catholics. Forming a love for God and the Church early in life, he joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate when he was 17. Studying in a seminary under them, he earned a degree in Philosophy in 1995 and a degree in Theology in 1999. Because of family needs, he withdrew from the Oblates and supported himself and his family with various teaching ministries; teaching English, math and language at an orphanage and at a Boy's Town in Pagama, Sri Lanka. He also did social work and promoted devotion with the Holy Rosary from 2000-2008.

He first came to the United states in 2013 on a religious student visa, renewing his search for a religious vocation. He spent nearly a year at Monastery of Christ in the Desert in New Mexico and then was admitted as a seminarian at the Notre dame Seminary in New Orleans. At the seminary, he longed again for life in a monastic community and first visited us in July of 2015. He later asked admission to the community and arrived in May of this year.

In the community, Br. Jude helps in cleaning the guest rooms and tending the garden areas by the guest rooms and the chapel.


St. John Paul II Shrine Blessed

shrine blessingshrine closeup

On October 22, the feast day of St. John Paul II, the monastic community along with eight friends gathered at the completed shrine of St. John Paul II, to bless and dedicate it. The community has a deep devotion to St. John Paul. Our monastery was named in honor of Mary under the title of his encyclical about her, Redemptoris Mater. Among those who attended was Bill Battic (left on the second photo above) who made the bronze bust sculpture, and Jimmy Martin (right on the second photo above) who was healed of Parkinson's Disease through the intercession of St. John Paul. A Group of Knights of Columbus from Baton Rouge built the brick pedestal on which the sculpture rests on.

Br. Laurent Enters Novitiate

Br Laurent recBr. Laurent Port

On March 18, at First Vespers beginning the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Postulant Laureano Abila Jr. was clothed in a white habit and given a copy of the Rule of St. Benedict and so began novitiate with us. Taking the name, Br. Laurnet, he begins a year of study under Fr. James and the monks at Mother of the Redeemer learning the Rule, the Olivetan Constitutions, Scripture, and living the monastic life of prayer, work and humility.

Br. Laurent was born November 25, 1970 at Legaspi City, The Philippines. While he was in college, he took part in Focolare, a spiritual renewal movement. He graduated from De La Salle University in the Philippines with a degree in Philosophy. He spent a two years teaching at a high school and then got a Masters degree in Religious Studies. He taught a course in Anthropology and World Religions at a college in Manila that was run by the Benedictines.

In 2000, Br. Laurent moved permanently to the United States. After 9/11, he joined the Army. He went through officer candidate training school and was commissioned as an officer. While in the Army, Br. Laurent began became a U.S. citizen in 2006. He began to take an interest in solitude, silence and a life of prayer. He took a 2-year theology curriculum for lay ministry at The Mount in Emmetsburg, MD. He visited Monte Oliveto while in Italy and wrote to them expressing a desire to enter monastic life. Monte Olivet referred him to Fr. James. Br. Laurent visited Mother of the Redeemer in 2013 and again in 2014. In 2015, he retired from the Army and moved in with us near the end of September.

In the monastery, Br. Laurent cares for the chapel, and the inner cloister area, does housekeeping duties and some care of the grounds, and occasionally help cook meals.

Retreat groups during March

retreat groupThe time of Lent, especially approaching Holy Week and Easter brings various groups from parishes and the diocese to the monastery for retreats. The RCIA group from St. Edmond Parish in Lafayette was here the day before Palm Sunday. Led by Deacon Frank Cormier, the catechumens and sponsors sought the monastery grounds as "a place apart" to prepare for the liturgies of Holy Week, experiencing the Pascal Mysteries before being initiated into the Church at the Easter Vigil.

A few days later a group of four seminarians from the Diocese of Lafayette, visited the monastery as a place for prayer and fellowship during Holy Week On March 21-23. On their second day, they volunteered to do mowing and other yard work for monastery.

Pictured (L-R) are Connor Poirrier, Seth Lemaire, Matthew Gossen, and Dexter Thibodeaux.

FOCUS Missionary Retreat

Focus Group The FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries from the University of Louisiana Lafayette joined us for a 3 day team retreat on Jan. 30-Feb. 2, for them to refresh in silence, prayer and fellowship to prepare themselves for the spring semester. FOCUS takes recent college graduates and sends them back on another college campus to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, answering the call of the New Evangelization!

_________________ 2015 _____________________

Symposium at the Monastery

The Peter Maurin Symposium on Christian Agraianism met at the monastery retreat hall on December 12, 2015.  Fr. Samuel Fontana, a priest from the Lafayette diocese, led the symposium, attended by about 20 people, for an afternoon of study, discussion and prayer on creating a more authentic culture, beginning with ourselves, based on the teachings of Christ, the wisdom of the Church, and a right relationship with the land. The symposium concluded with food and fellowship.

New Equipment Storage Building Constructed

Steel bldg. girders and beamsstorage bldg nearly finishedOn September 8, large trucks with materials, a crane truck and 6-7 men arrived. The materials were unloaded, the girders and beams set up, then the siding, the roof, roof vent and windows. Erection took two days. The overhead garage door was installed on the 19th completing construction. No sooner was it finished, the riding mower was moved in and the space started filling up. Electricity still has to be installed along with shelving along the walls to more efficiently store the smaller items and have a work table for maintenance work.

Legion of Mary Retreat

Legion of Mary retreatOn August 8 ,2015.  The legion of Mary met in San Bernardo Hall for there annual meeting . Fr Martin Laird of Alexandria Diocese gave the presentation with Fr Ken Domingue assisting .

St. Benedict feast celebrated by oblates...

St. Benedict Mass 2015The monastic community of Mother of the Redeemer Monastery celebrated the solemnity of St. Benedict, founder of the Benedictine Order. This celebration coincided with the year of consecrated life. Benedictine oblates, friends, and benefactors attended the celebration. The Reverend Clinton Sensat, oblate, presented a reflection on the life and teaching of St. Benedict, after which all were invited to lunch in San Bernardo Hall.

New Equipment Storage Building Started

With the acquisition of a new riding mower and a crowded carport and tool shed, we were needing a new storage building to store large equipment. Frequent rains delayed the start of construction until the end of June. In a four day period, excavation and forms were built behind the carport. Concrete was poured on June 30.

______________________ 2014 _______________________

Fr. Clinton Sensat on the life and writings of St. Hildegard...

Fr. Clinton Sensat On July 12th, the day after the Feast of St. Benedict, Fr. Clinton Sensat, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Eunice, LA and an oblate of our monastery, gave two talks about St. Hildegard to the monastic community, and interested oblates in Bernardo Hall. Fr. Sensat spent time studying her writings, and biographies and illumined for us many interesting things about the life and significance of this 12th century Benedictine abbas who is not widely known among U.S. Catholics. St. Hildegard was raised from an early age in a Benedictine monastery of monks which also had a small community of nuns. She experienced mystical visions from an early age which were eventually written down in a book called Scivias. She is one of the earliest recognized female theologians in the Church and was recently declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI. With a wide range of interests, she also studied and wrote on science and medicine, and composed hymns and poetry.


 ______________________ 2013 _______________________

Br. Gregory and Br. Bernard installed to ministry of Acolyte...

On December 7, 2013, the feast of Saint Ambrose, Brs. Gregory and Bernard were installed to the ministry of Acolyte in a ceremony presided by Abbot James during our morning Eucharistic Celebration. As acolytes, the brothers will have a special role in the Church’s ministry. It is their responsibility to assist the priests during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as well as being special ministers of Holy Communion to the faithful, both in the liturgy and also to the sick. May the Lord, in a special way, bless our brothers who have been chosen for this special ministry, that they may be faithful in the service of Your altar and in giving the bread of life; may they grow always in faith and love, and so continue to build up your Church.

Olivetan monk from Guatemala visits community...

On December 3-9, 2013 our community received a fraternal visit from Br. Mario-Isaias M. Chapeton Duran, a monk of Monasterio San Bernardo Tolomei in Guatemala. The visit to our community also marked his first trip to the United States. Br. Mario-Isaias, currently in temporary vows, has recently completed his coursework in philosophy and will soon begin his study of theology in preparation for priestly ordination. Our community was greatly delighted to have him with us during his visit, and we offer our continued prayers for Br. Mario-Isaias and all his fellow monks in Guatemala.

Extraordinary General Chapter 2013...

Abbot James and Br. Gregory attended the Extraordinary General Chapter of the Olivetan Congregation held at Monte Oliveto Maggiore on August 25-31, 2013. Forty-one monks from twenty Olivetan monasteries across the world attended, many for the first time. The main focus of the gathering was to discuss and vote on 12 items of the Olivetan Constitutions in order to clarify the nature and charism of the congregation, the roles and relationship of the Abbot General and local superiors, the consultation process required before a monk can be transferred, and the profession formula. Often a delicate and tedious process for precisely wording of the texts, the Abbot General commended the Chapter members for keeping the discussions amicable, and for more monks taking part in the discussions. As the meetings progressed, we experienced a pleasant unity developing among us. Participating together in the monastic office and Holy Mass, both celebrated in traditional Gregorian Chant, added greatly to the beauty of the experience. Generous time was allotted to the monks for fellowship with one another. By the end of event, we were all well acquainted with our fellow brethren. The Extraordinary Chapter ended with a festive meal at “La Torre” (The Tower) restaurant on the abbey grounds.


French Olivetan monk visits our community... 

Br. Gregory Foret During the weeks of May 23-June 6, 2013, we received a visit from a fellow Olivetan confrere--Br. Oliveto M. Géradin of Abbaye Notre Dame de Maylis, located in southern France. Br. Oliveto recently completed a program of Monastic Studies in Rome, and has spent the past several months visiting monasteries throughout the United States, hoping to gain a better understanding of monasticism in America. His stay with our community included tours of all finest sights, sounds, and cuisine that South Louisiana has to offer. Some of the highlights of his visit include: the Gulf of Mexico, historic Grand Coteau, a visit to an alligator farm where he held a baby alligator, a concert by Louisiana natives "L'Angelus", a fine sampling of local cuisine, and a grand tour of New Orleans.  Br. Oliveto spoke fondly of the warmth and kindness he encountered in the people of South Louisiana. We, likewise, thoroughly enjoyed his presence in our community, and offer our prayers for his safe return to France, where he will begin a new and challenging position in the office of formation at his monastery in Maylis.

Br. Gregory Foret, OSB Oliv. joins the community... 

Br. Gregory Foret On April 18, 2013, we officially welcomed the newest member to our monastic community, Br. Gregory Foret, OSB Oliv.  Br. Gregory comes to us from Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Hawaii, located in the hills above Waialua on the island of O’ahu. Despite calling the Hawaiian Islands his home for the past two decades, Br. Gregory is originally a native of Kansas City, KS. Having studied Landscape Architecture at Kansas State University, he acquired work at a professional landscape contracting company--and even designed playgrounds. In September of 1985, Br. Gregory began his monastic life at Holy Trinity Monastery in Arizona, and five years later, transferred to the Hawaiian Benedictines where he has lived for the past twenty-two years. As a solemnly professed monk, Br. Gregory has served in a variety of areas in the monastery. Some of his duties included: composing the community’s newsletter, bookkeeping, various computer work, gardening, and general maintenance. On behalf of Abbot James and our entire community, we offer a warm welcome to our newest confrere, and pray that the Lord will continue to send zealous young men to our monastic community.

______________________ 2012 _______________________


Abbot General Diego M. Rosa visits...

Abbot Diego Rosa On July 26-29th, our community was graced by a visit from our Abbot General Diego M. Rosa, who resides at our motherhouse, Monte Oliveto Maggiore, near Siena, Italy. The Abbot General was accompanied by two fellow Italian confreres—Dom Andrea M. Santus, canon lawyer and formation director at Monte Oliveto, and Dom Guglielmo M. Gambina, who is fluent in English and a great aid to the traveling Italians. The recent pastoral visit to our American communities was especially significant as it was also Abbot Diego’s first-ever trip to the United States. Upon their arrival, the Italians spent their first full day touring various notable sites around New Orleans before making their way to our monastery. On late Thursday evening, the Abbot General and his traveling companions finally arrived and received a warm reception from the community before settling in for the night. One of the highlights of the Abbot General’s visit was a special Latin Vespers (evening prayers), prepared by Br. Bernard, which provided us with a glimpse of the beautiful monastic liturgy of Monte Oliveto—courtesy of the combined vocal talents of Doms Andrea and Guglielmo. The pastoral visit concluded with a Solemn Mass on Sunday morning, presided by Abbot Diego, before departing for a visit to our fellow Olivetan communities in New Mexico and Arizona. It is difficult to fully convey the joy of Abbot Diego’s visit to our humble community. His paternal love and jovial spirit radiate to all who meet him. Enlivened by this recent visit, we offer our prayers for our Abbot General and the entire Olivetan Congregation, that Our Lord will bestow His wisdom on all who govern our monastic communities, and bless us all with an ever-greater zeal and continued vitality in the years to come.


Olivetan Sisters celebrate 125th anniversary...

Jonesboro Sisters On March 20-22, 2012,  Abbot James, representing our Abbot General Diego Rosa, along with Br. Gabriel traveled to Jonesboro, Arkansas to attend one of several celebrations hosted by the Olivetan Sisters of Holy Angels Convent in yearlong commemoration of 125 years since their arrival in Arkansas on December 13, 1887. The founding sisters came to the United States from the monastery of Kloster Maria Rickenbach in Switzerland, and setteled near Conception, Missouri in 1874. Although their original mission was that of teaching, the sisters eventually began apostolic work in the medical field and in 1900 opened "St. Bernard's Hospital" in honor of St. Bernard Tolomei, founder of the Olivetan Benedictines. The original hospital has since grown into a vast medical complex providing physical, emotional, and spiritual care for 23 counties across northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri. Special guests for the feast of St.Benedict included Abbot Jerome Kodell of Subiaco Abbey and Mother Andrea, former prioress of Maria Rickenbach in Switzerland. It was truly a joy for us to join the sisters in their quasquicentennial celebration, and our thanks and gratitude to all for their warmth and hospitality.


Upcoming Events


Next Oblate Day:

January 25, 2020

confirmed date


10:30 AM


Pot-luck dinner




    168 Monastery Lane | Opelousas, LA | 70570     (337) 543-2237     Email