950 years of the Admont Benedictine Abbey
1074 – 2024
I am humbly proud (this contrasting pair of words is exactly fitting, because it indicates that it was and is only possible with the help of God), in other words: I am humbly proud that there is a woman at the beginning of our house history, Hemma of Gurkwithout whom we would not exist. In the male-dominated history of the world, God placed a female founder, St Hemma of Gurk, at the head of our Admont Abbey. From her great wealth, above all in property - also in Upper Styria - she gave a huge chunk of it to the church so that a monastery could be founded. As we know, she did not live to see the founding of Admont here on earth, but she certainly felt satisfaction in heaven, to put it in very earthly terms, that in 1074 Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg has realised her will.
Hemma's life was certainly aristocratically privileged on the one hand, but she had to cope with a great deal of suffering and crosses, which she mastered thanks to her deep Christian faith. She didn't just say her prayers dutifully and piously. From her deep relationship with God, through prayer and worship, she became an exemplary activist for the poor and disadvantaged of her time and gave much of her property to the church to found a monastery so that the Christian faith could be deepened in our country, cultivation could take place, education could be made possible and an economy could be created so that the monks could live and the people of the village and the region could also benefit.
I am humbly proud that this common thread has remained so to this day. Since 1074, a community of monks has lived here with the rule of the St Benedict of Nursia and we have the honourable task of continuing this Christian mission today. Three times a day - morning - noon - evening - we sing the praises of God in choral prayer, the most important task of a monk who obeys the Benedictine spirit. In the parishes entrusted to us, we deepen the Christian faith with the people entrusted to us, promote culture and education, and treat the economy given to us with the utmost responsibility. It is a great gift in the truest sense of the word that God is constantly giving our community new spiritual vocations and everyone brings their own life and faith story to the table. Despite all the prophecies of doom: God is still calling young people into spiritual discipleship todayWe want to continue to humbly and proudly ask God for spiritual offspring for our house. We also place particular trust in our patron saint, the St Blasius.
Finally, I am humbly proud that we are experiencing a prosperous economy, knowing that nothing comes from nothing: Nothing comes from nothing, a great deal of brainpower and labour must be invested in order to experience a thriving economy in this day and age. Thank you to the former economic directors and the current economic director and the Stifter family for their exemplary commitment to our organisation. For us, business is not an end in itself, economic capitalism is not an internal orientation - we have to fulfil major cost-intensive Christian tasks (including subsidising the private Catholic school, maintaining the abbey's cultural life, 26 parishes belonging to Admont Abbey, i.e. maintaining 26 parish churches and 26 parsonages, many church social projects, major financial support for the Austrian Mission and, finally, the monthly salaries of around 500 people employed by Admont Abbey).
In today's secularised world, many people find it surprising that a church business can be economically successful. However, it is astonishing for me as an abbot to have to learn that some church circles are also unable to come to terms with the fact that one can be economically successful, perhaps also because - I speculate - they have not done what they should have done long ago with the assets entrusted to them. Talents that are entrusted to you must not be buried, but should be utilised (read in the Bible).
Since 1074, with ups and downs, the praises of God have been sung, Christian life has been lived, economically sustainable work has been carried out - there is no doubt that everything needs to be intensified, especially in the spiritual area; there is no reason for complacency, but there is reason for gratitude. I am - we are - humbly proud of God.
The abbot and the convent of Admont Abbey wish him much strength and God's blessing!