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Gregor Mendel, OSA

Prior General calls to dialogue with science from the life of Gregor Mendel

A letter on the Bicentenary of the Birth of Gregor Mendel, OSA

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Dated July 23, 2022, Prior General Alejandro Moral Anton, OSA, sent a letter of greetings to all members of the Order of Saint Augustine on the Bicentennial birth of Fray Gregor Mendel, OSA last July 20, 2022.

The great Augustinian friar and scientist brought honor to the Order and inspired all members to be open to dialogue with science through study and meditation. According to the words of Prior General Anton, Mendel was able “dialogue with God, his brothers and nature.”

Like Mendel and among other known friars in the field of holiness, study, and science, Augustinians are “called to understand that life cannot be separated into independent islands, but rather it is our commitment to cultivate the spiritual life, along with study, with science and with pastoral life all together.”

Biography

Gregor Mendel was a Czech Augustinian abbot who discovered the science of genetics. Mendel, Augustinian and scientist, was a pioneer whose scientific work was so unprecedented at the time it appeared that it took thirty-four years for the rest of the scientific community to catch up to it.  

Johann (Jan) Gregor Mendel was born on 20th July 1822 into a farming family at Hyncice, near Brno (now in the Czech Republic), and was one of three children. He joined the Order of Saint Augustine in 1843. While preparing for the priesthood, he also studied agriculture and viniculture at the Philosophical Institute of Brno. On 4th August 1847 at the age of twenty-five years, Gregor Mendel has ordained a priest. (read more about his life…)

The complete text of the Prior General’s letter:

Bicentenary of the Birth of Gregor Mendel, O.S.A. of the Abbey of Brno

1822 – July 20 – 2022

Dear Augustinian Brothers and Sisters and friends of the Brno Abbey,

Today, even if from a distance, the Augustinains, nuns, lay people and friars from all over the world, are united with you in the one heart of the Augustinian Family.

The figure of our brother Gregor Mendel, whose bicentenary of his birth we are celebrating, has gone beyond space and time, going beyond the seas and mountains and beyond the centuries, becoming today one of the best-known friars in the world of scientific research and of the development of science.

His example highlights to all of us how important it is in our life to be open to dialogue with science through study and meditation. The encounter with others, starting from within the Order, and then at the level of the different confessions or religions, of the different social groups, and in the comparison with scientific discoveries and with the various aspects of humanitarian development, can only be reached through dialogue based on study, personal meditation and the silence of the interiority of the heart. Without study and meditation, which also lead us to an encounter with the Eternal and to humble prayer based on our poverty, true development will be impossible. Today, we are carried away by many scientific innovations, some of which are necessary, but they will be even more so if we are able to use them for the good of people and of society, and to be achieved in dialogue and study. For us, as sons and daughters of Augustine, saint and doctor of the Church, and as brothers and sisters of many known friars in the field of holiness, study and science, this means that we are called to understand that life cannot be separated independents islands, but rather it is our commitment to cultivate the spiritual life, along with study, with science and with pastoral life all together.

Each of these areas will strengthen the others. We cannot undertake a serious, profound, generous and charitable pastoral ministry without studying the sacred sciences and without also deepening the meaning of humanities, which help us to know better and understand better humanity in a more intimate way. Men and women, created in the image of God and who cannot find themselves and find happiness until they rest in God, need an encounter with God, with other men and women, their brothers and sisters, as well as with Mother Nature, which we must love and care for. To achieve this goal, the only way is to study and dialogue with one another.

I wish you a day full of that grace of God, which acted in our brother Gregor Mendel, in order to reveal the mysteries of Mother Earth.

The whole Order congratulates you, dear brothers, sisters and friends of the Abbey of Brno, where our brother was able to dialogue with God, with his brothers and with nature.

A warm fraternal greeting from the Council and the Prior General.

Given in Rome, by the General Curia of the Order, 23 July 2022.

Fr. Alejandro Moral Anton

Prior General, OSA

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