Martin Marty, O.S.B. (1834-1896)

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Monday 17, September 2007 | Category:   Consecrated Life

Abbot Martin Marty, O.S.B.

About me: James Joseph Alois Marty was born in Switzerland in 1834, the son of a shoemaker. Before the age of two, his mouth and face were both severely burned when he drank from a bottle of acid in his father’s shop. The acid caused swelling that nearly suffocated him and would leave his face permanently disfigured.

In 1847 Marty enrolled in the Benedictine school attached to Einsiedeln Abbey. After graduation, he entered the Benedictine novitiate at Einsiedeln and took the name Brother Martin Marty when he made his vows. He was ordained to the priesthood a year later and began teaching moral theology at the monastery school.

In 1860, at the age of 26, the abbot of Einsiedeln sent Marty to Southern Indiana to help solve the problems of the fledgling missionary community of Saint Meinrad. Marty facilitated peace between conflicting factions in the small Benedictine house and articulated a vision for the new community.

My vision: He envisioned a Benedictine abbey that would serve as a spiritual and liturgical center for the area, educate priests in a seminary, and provide pastoral assistance to the local people. This vision of monastic life, combining a life of prayer and work with support for the pastoral work of the church, has remained the mission of Saint Meinrad Archabbey o this day.

Although the assignment was intended to last only one year, Marty was elected the first abbot, and under his leadership Saint Meinrad flourished, becoming one of the cornerstones of Benedictine life in the United States. After a decade and a half of monastic leadership, Marty was named to lead the church in the missionary territories of the Dakotas. He became bishop of the Dakota territories and later the second bishop of St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he lived the rest of his life and demonstrated great enthusiasm in his work with the Sioux.

I belong to: The Benedictine Monks of St. Meinrad Archabbey.

Many thanks to Brother Christian Raab of St. Meinrad Archabbey for information on Bishop Marty. Information also drawn from Wikipedia.

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