Monk Highlight: Abbott Marion

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer

Saint Martin’s is known for having an impressive array of clubs and activities, and for having an inviting community. Abbot Marion is a monk who, after extensive time in the community, became Saint Martin’s ninth Abbot. Although known for being a part of the monastery, Abbott Marion enjoys other activities in his free time. He mentions that “besides visiting family and friends, I usually spend my Mondays at the lodge out by the mud bay on campus, reading and studying to work on my doctorate that I had been working on before being elected. So I spend time reading and doing meditation and then talking with some friends and family.”

Abbott Marion officially became the ninth Abbott on August 15, 2020. He discusses what had brought him to Saint Martin’s. “[It was] literally the search of God in my spiritual life. I had been a Priest for the Diocese for eight years and spent another eight years in the Archdiocese Seattle. My work there was really meaningful and brought me a lot of joy. Especially in my six years in Bellingham, where I was both a Pastor for 750 families and the Chaplin with the students at Western Washington University at the Newman Center. I really enjoyed my work there but the work started to become the center of my life versus having the structure of a prayer life. Consequently, after a few years, I started feeling empty inside so I knew I needed a change.”

When it comes to being part of the monasteries there are many duties that must be fulfilled. Abbott Marion discusses his roles as a monk: “it encompasses a lot of things but I think there are some primary things. Being an Abbott means that you are both the administrative and spiritual father of a community of men and are guided by the fifteen hundred years of tradition of the Benedictines who follow the rules of Saint Benedict. It’s a very small booklet of 72 chapters of the ways in which we search for God and how we live with one another and the structure within the monastery. My responsibility is also connected with the university. I’m the Chancellor of the University. I work directly with the President, as well as the Chair of the Board of Trustees on a weekly basis to collaborate with them and to guide them in running a Catholic and Benedictine university. The monks participate in their own ways, like working as a professor or like Brother Ramone who works in the mailroom.”

Abbott Marion had been a part of the Saint Martin’s community for a while and commented about the things he loves about the university, “I think I love the fact that those who come here know that there is a deeper appreciation for the traditions the school has. The fact that we are able to share our religion with the students and know we aren’t alone because we have collaborators. I really appreciate that the Brothers here come together four times a day to pray not only for ourselves but the holiness we need to pray for God to watch over everyone in our ministry, the staff of the university, professors, and especially the students. We really feel that we are receiving the confidence of parents who have sent their children here and we try to create an environment that is conductive for their growth. A place of peace, a place where dignity is affirmed.” 

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