Meet Brother Anselm Allen, OSB

Benedictine Brother Anselm Allen is one of more than 35,000 senior religious who benefits from the Retirement Fund for Religious.

Ask Brother Anselm Allen the key to living a long life, and his answer is immediate: “Stay active,” he says. “Keep on moving. I think it helps a lot.” Brother Anselm lives this philosophy, keeping a daily schedule that folks half his age might struggle to maintain.

Born in November 1938, Brother Anselm has been a member of the Benedictines of Subiaco Abbey in Subiaco, Arkansas, since 1959. Like his fellow monks, he starts each day with Morning Prayer at 5:45 a.m., followed by Mass. During the day, he will return to the chapel three more times for communal prayer, while also making time for private prayer and sacred reading. During his personal prayer, Brother Anselm often likes to meditate on the hymn “O Breathe on Me O Breath of God.”

Underneath his habit, Brother Anselm is likely to be wearing overalls and a work shirt. At 76, he has ministered in religious life for more than 50 years, using his hands to serve God and his religious community. While still a student at Subiaco Academy, Brother Anselm began working at the abbey farm after class and on weekends. Following his first profession, he worked for a time in the community’s print shop before moving on to the maintenance department, where he continues to serve. Since 1965, he has helped to oversee the treatment of the water supply that provides water for both the monastery and the local town. As part of this work, he has tracked weather temperatures and precipitation for the National Weather Service for the last 45 years. In his “spare” time, he serves as a volunteer firefighter, an amateur radio operator, and can often be found exercising in the monastery’s health center.

From fixing the boilers to harvesting grapes and making the abbey’s Communion wine, Brother Anselm is happy to be able to serve in big ways and small. “I enjoy doing things to contribute to community life,” he says.

Learn how the Retirement Fund for Religious helped Brother Anslem’s community plan for the future.