‘It takes a village to raise a vocation!’, newly solemnly professed New Norcian Benedictine Monk says

06 May 2021

By Amanda Murthy

Dom Daniel Meers made his final religious vows as a Benedictine Monk on 3 December 2020 at the New Norcia Abbey Parish. Photo: Roy Gardner.

Recently solemnly professed Benedictine Dom Daniel Meers described a sense of freedom and peace on making his final religious vows.

The ceremony held on 3 December 2020, took place in the New Norcia Abbey Parish and was celebrated by Abbot John Herbert OSB.

Sharing a reflection of his journey with The Record, Dom Daniels says his solemn rofession as a Benedictine Monk of New Norcia had its beginnings in a small rural parish in the Mid-North of South Australia.

“I attended, as did all my siblings and my mother’s family, St. Joseph’s Convent School, Gladstone,” Dom Daniel said.

“It was in this environment that my initial faith development as a Catholic was nurtured, supported, and encouraged.

“I firmly believe that it ‘takes a village to raise … a vocation!” he affirmed.

At the solemn profession of Daniel Meers on 3 December 2020, celebrant Abbot John Herbert OSB made a special welcome to the Little Sisters of the Poor, Abbot Bernard and the family members of Dom Daniel, who could not travel from South Australia, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Roy Gardner.

Recalling his early childhood and teenage life, Dom Daniel credits the witness and love of so many people over the years including lay, religious and priests – as sources which inspired and imbued within him, both a fervent love of God and love of His people.

“Community was everything, and still is – my early childhood and teenage life was centred upon the parish and the parish community – which were much like my extended family – part of who I am (my DNA)!,” Dom Daniel said.

“My call to serve God and his people, has stirred deep within me for as long as I can remember.

“However, it was not until after a long and richly blessed teaching career in Adult Education, that my first thoughts of a life given to God in prayer came to me. My monastic life often attests to the veracity of the adage, ‘It’s God’s time not my time’ – it is for God to choose, not me,” he added.

“It was from this somewhat latent ‘spark’ in life that ignited a whole-hearted desire to discover the best way to respond to God’s call.”

This led to a period of deep and very prayerful discernment, through seeking the counsel of his parish priest, parishioners, close friends, family and workmates.

Reflecting on his journey to religious life, now solemnly professed Dom Daniel Meers said that taking the time to contemplate and desire to seek God’s will for him, led Dom Daniel to discern his vocation. Photo: Roy Gardner.

“It was by the grace of the Holy Spirit, that I undertook an ‘observership,’ – a ‘Come and See’ experience – with the Benedictine Community of New Norcia that I found what I had been searching for – a life lived totally for God; a simple, peaceful life, filled with quiet joy. A life that prepares us for our eternal vocation, to sing the praises of God forever!”

In his homily, Abbot John took the time to contemplate Dom Daniel’s journey, and desire to seek ‘God and God’s will for him.’

“Our hopes for Daniel, when he found his home among us, have been realised. He has heard God saying to him through monastic life, ‘you will find me here, I have restored you,” Abbot John said.

“In these past five years Dom Daniel has followed St Benedicts primary instruction ‘listen with the ear of the heart.’ In doing so, he has discovered that this level of listening is tricky business, because our hearts can deceive us.

“But through devoting himself to prayer with purity of heart, compunction of heart and intention of heart, Dom Daniel has discerned what is good, acceptable and perfect – although none of us will reach perfection.”

Abbot John concluded his homily by offering words of gratitude for the gift of Dom Daniel.

“….How blessed we are that Dom Daniel now wants to continue that journey with us for the rest of his life…all we can say is thank you, all we can promise is hearts burning with love, with pride, and with expectation, until the day when that same risen Lord on that road to Emmaus chooses to bring us all together to eternal life.”