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Archives St. Bernard’s parishioner takes first step towards life as a Benedictine monk
From Saranac Lake to Subiaco

Jan. 31, 2018

By Colleen Miner
Staff writer

Saranac Lake – Parishioners of St. Bernard’s Church joined Father Patrick Ratigan, pastor, as he offered a Jesse Bedoreblessing to a young man who is entering a Benedictine monastery this week.

Jesse Bedore was also an honored guest at a coffee hour held after Mass Jan. 21

A native of Tupper Lake, Bedore is the son of Glenn and Anne Bedore.  He graduated as salutatorian of Tupper Lake's class of 2003 and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from SUNY Potsdam and an associate's degree in accounting from SUNY Canton.

He has been working for Cape Air as a reservations agent at the Saranac Lake City Ticket Office since June of 2014.

On Jan. 29 Bedore began driving to Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, Arkansas, with his parents and uncle, Father Alan Lamica of Malone.

On Feb. 1 he will join Subiaco, a Benedictine monastery of the Swiss-American Congregation founded in 1878.

Contemplative lifestyle
“The Benedictine Order appealed to me because of its contemplative lifestyle,” he told the North Country Catholic, “and most of its monasteries have an educational ministry.

I was also attracted to the community life of the Benedictines.” he said. “Monks vow to remain at the same monastery for life while most others in religious life can move around from house to house. 

“Subiaco has about 45 monks and I feel that it has a strong long-term future,” he said.  I like the location as well, in the Arkansas River valley between the Ozark and the Ouachita mountains.

“Furthermore, there are quite a few jobs one can do,” Bedore said. “there's farm work, the retreat house, and Subiaco Academy, their prep school for boys.”

The monks also are known for their Monk Sauce and peanut brittle.

“Most importantly,” he said. “I like the monks and they like me.”

The search begins
Bedore started to take a serious look at the Benedictine Order in the fall of 2015.

“By the spring of 2016 I had visited five monasteries and was confident that religious life as a Benedictine monk was right for me,” he said.

“In 2015, I was about to turn 30 and I decided that I needed to discern my vocation,” he said. “After ruling out marriage, I knew I had to look into religious life. 

To begin the process, Bedore was required to make three visits to the monastery:  the first to observe the religious life of the community, the second to get to know the monks, and the third for interviews.

“I needed to undergo six interviews with different members of the vocations committee,” he said
Upon his arrival at the monastery this week, Bedore will begin the formation process. The first step is “candidacy” which lasts for six months.  This is followed by a year of novitiate, after which the monk takes a religious name and makes temporary vows.  The temporary vows last three years; during this time the monk is called a Junior Monk.

As he starts candidacy, Bedore will where a custom-made tunic and belt.  After making temporary vows, he’ll receive a scapular and hood to complete the habit.  Generally, he said, monks wear the habits within the monastery, but wear ordinary clothes when they're out in public

Prayer and Work
As he looks ahead to his life as a monk, Bedore knows that he won’t need to buy a car, house or save for retirement.

“All my needs will be met and, in return, I know I’ll have to work,” he said. “The Benedictine motto is Ora et Labora, which is Latin for Prayer and Work.  I would like to get into teaching, perhaps catechism classes or at the academy. 

“Ultimately,” he said. “I want to become holy and go to Heaven, and I would like to help many others do the same.

Currently, Bedore does not plan to pursue studies to become a priest “but I am open to the possibility,” he said. “Further discernment is necessary for me to determine whether or not I am called to the priesthood.”

When asked for his advice for young people considering religious vocations, he said, “people considering religious life should do some research on the different religious orders and communities.  There are websites and books out there that can help people compare different religious communities.  After finding a community that may interest them, they should contact the vocations director for that order or community to find out more.

“Most importantly, people considering religious life should visit a few communities for several days to observe the way of life of that community.  (It doesn't hurt to work for an airline to get good travel benefits!)   Also, they should get in contact with the vocations director for their diocese.
(Jesse Bedore may be reached at Subiaco Abbey, 405 N. Subiaco Avenue, Subiaco,  AR 72865)

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