Father Gumula elected abbot of Mepkin

Moncks Corner — Trappistine Father Stanislaus Amil Gumula was elected the fourth abbot of Our Lady of Mepkin Abbey Oct. 29. He was chosen by the abbey’s conventual chapter, the monks who have made solemn profession to the monastic life and to Mepkin Abbey. Abbot Damien Thompson of Gethsemani Abbey, near Louisville, Ky., conducted and confirmed the election.

Abbot Stan was installed with a profession of faith and an oath of fidelity during compline, the order’s Sunday evening prayer time. At this time the monks individually promised obedience to him as their new abbot. Plans are being made for the ceremony when the new abbot will receive the abbatial blessing and the symbols of his office — a crosier, pectoral cross and ring, according to a press release from the monastery.

Abbot Stan was born Aug. 5, 1941, in Philadelphia, Pa., where he attended Catholic schools. He entered Mepkin Abbey in 1959 and made his simple profession in 1961. He professed his solemn vows at the Easter Vigil in 1980.

Abbot Stan studied philosophy, theology and spirituality at Gethsemani Abbey from 1962 to 1965. He has been the monastery’s cellarer, or chief purveyor of food and drinks for the use of the monastic community, since 1984. He was ordained to the ministerial priesthood on June 24, 2003, in response to a call from the brothers at Mepkin.

“The death of our youngish abbot on Aug. 27 was a tragic event in Mepkin’s history,” Abbot Stan said. “However, as in times past, the brothers have responded, regrouped and are ready and eager to move forward together. Our desire and hope is to continue to show the compassionate face of Christ in the Lowcountry and that reconciliation between divergent voices and groups and between human communities and our natural surroundings and ecosystems is always possible. Mepkin is above all a place of prayer where God and his people can become one.”

Father Francis Kline was Mepkin’s third abbot from 1990 until his death at age 57 on Aug. 27 after a long illness. Father Christian Aidan Carr served as abbot from 1974 to 1989, and at 92 remains active in the community.

Father Anthony Chassagne was the monastery’s first abbot from 1949 to 1974.