Monk Highlight: Brother Ramon
Sophia Kobernusz-Gibbs, Staff Writer
During his 61 years at Saint Martin’s, Brother Ramon has done just about everything a monk can do here including serving as the Abbey Barber, working in the mailroom and pursuing personal interests such as racing drag boats and writing poems.
For last Thanksgiving, Br. Ramon wrote and recorded a poem titled “Thank You” that he shared with the community. “Thank you God for the gift of life, a new day, a new beginning.” He went on to be grateful for the opportunity to learn and to continue to have new experiences. “To see the sun in the day and the moon and stars at night. To look at the stars and wonder, to stand before the ocean in awe.”
Br. Ramon has been at Saint Martin’s since 1960 and is currently the subprior, meaning he is third in charge of the Abbey. Since his start at Saint Martin’s, Br. Ramon has been all over campus. He has worked in roads and grounds, laundry, infirmary and is still the Abbey Barber. He’s worked in the library, the physics lab, taken care of Abbey cars for several years, worked in the woods, Campus Ministry and the records office. Now you can find Br. Ramon in the mailroom. Previously, while he was still in Campus Ministry, the mailroom was kept by Br. Lawrence and Br. Ramon would lend assistance. Once Lawrence retired from the position, Br. Ramon took over. No matter what position Br. Ramon has held, he brings the Benedictine values with him, particularly the values of services, stability, and community. And he has shared his poetry at Poetry Slam events with students.
Saint Martin’s junior Chris Carlisle described the multifaceted person that is Br. Ramon. “While many know him as the head of the mailroom, he has also been spotted sharing his poetry at open mic night, doing Tai Chi with our friends in the gym, and participating as an occasional judge in the cookie tasting competitions in the cafeteria. He is not only a lot of fun to be around, but he is also the type of person that cares about both students and staff alike.”
Br. Ramon talked about how and why a monk, or prospective monk, comes here. “The reason we come to Saint Martin’s is to seek God,” he said. In addition to God, though, there is a slightly different focus. “They [monks] don’t come for the work, they come for the life. There are a lot of people you would not have met otherwise, a lot of things you wouldn’t have done if you were somewhere else, not as a monk.”
Outside of his duties and habitual prayer life, Br. Ramon pursues his many interests but finds poetry particularly rewarding. He said he read a book about healing, therapy, and coupling it with poetry to make poetic medicine. First, it was something he did for himself and still does. Over the past few years, he has begun sharing it with the community on Open Mic nights or in recordings, like he did for Thanksgiving.
Br. Ramon works in the mailroom on the first floor of Old Main. Pick up the mail you’ve been putting off and say hello. His full poem that he wrote and performed for Thanksgiving is on the Saint Martin’s Facebook page.