Following an abbatial election on Saturday, 19 August, a new abbot has been elected to serve the Marmion community of Aurora, Illinois, USA.
Abbot Joel Rippinger, OSB, is the sixth abbot of Marmion Abbey.
“I can say that my time as a monk of Marmion Abbey for over half a century has brought me a deep and authentic joy. I have been blessed greatly by loving parents who modeled the faith, supportive siblings, and the highly-prized grace of a monastic community and wider Marmion family that have provided me with affirmation and generous help over these many years. I look forward to relying upon all these blessings from the Lord as I enter my new leadership role at Marmion,” Abbot Joel said.
Abbot Joel succeeds Abbot John Brahill, OSB, who will turn 75 in January and announced his retirement in June of this year after serving as abbot of Marmion Abbey for 13 years.
The abbot supervises the spiritual lives of the monks and serves as the head of the abbey and president of Marmion Inc.
A Benedictine abbot is elected by the members of the monastic community. Nominations took place via secret ballot, under the supervision of Swiss-American Benedictine Congregation President Abbot Justin Brown, of Saint Joseph Abbey, Covington, Louisiana, USA.
Abbot Joel is the second of six children born to Joseph and Helen Rippinger formerly of Aurora, Illinois. His father and all five uncles, as well as four of his brothers, are all graduates of Marmion Academy. While he is not a Marmion alumnus himself, he attended Vocation Weeks at Marmion during his grade school years, which resulted in his desire to attend high school and college at Saint Meinrad Minor Seminary in Indiana.
Abbot Joel joined the Marmion Abbey community in 1968 and finished his college education in 1970, graduating from Saint Procopius College. He holds an MA in American History from the University of Notre Dame. Later, he completed his studies for the priesthood and received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, specializing in Monastic Studies, from the Benedictine Pontifical School of Theology at Sant’Anselmo Ateneo in Rome. He made his solemn profession on 6 August 1973, and was ordained to the priesthood on 13 July 1974.
Abbot Joel has served as a faculty member at Marmion Academy since 1976, teaching both theology and US AP History. He was a dorm prefect for nearly 10 years when the academy was a residential facility and was also a tennis coach. He has served for many years as the abbey oblate director, has held the position of novice master and subprior twice and has been the faculty/staff chaplain for the academy since 2003.
“I am confident that Abbot Joel will wisely lead Marmion in the years to come. He is a man of deep faith and commitment to the Catholic Church and to the Marmion Community. He brings to his new leadership position a deep love for Marmion as well as the wisdom gained over his many years of service to Marmion,” said Abbot Emeritus John.