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The abbot of a Cistercian monastery is elected by the monks whom he will lead and serve.

On July 5, 2007, the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity elected their sixth abbot, Fr. David Altman, 68, upon the completion of the term of office of our previous abbot, Fr. Casimir Bernas. Presiding at the election were Dom Damien Thompson of Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky and Dom Joseph Boyle of St. Benedict Abbey, Snowmass, Colorado.

Abbot David is from Philadelphia and has one sister. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in business, and worked as a professional accountant in Los Angeles before joining Holy Trinity Abbey in March, 1966.  His solemn profession was on March 25, 1973. Abbot David received a philosophy degree at Conception Abbey, Missouri, then completed his theological studies at Holy Trinity Abbey. He was ordained a priest on September 29, 1979.

Read talks by Abbot David

The Value of Monasticism
(April 25, 2007)

The Lord of Surprises
(March 21, 2008)

The Solemnity of St. Benedict
(July 11, 2008)

Understanding Storms
(February 12, 2011)

Disappointment
(February 7, 2009)

Sacred Heart of Jesus
(June 19, 2009)

Rise to God in Prayer
(April 24, 2010)

Easter Sunday Vigil (Year A)
(April 24, 2011)

In the monastery, Fr. David has put his accounting skills to good use as the abbey’s treasurer for the past twenty-five years. In addition, in recent years, he has been serving as guest master for our retreatants. He is well known for his counseling skills and also for his homilies.

Abbot David was elected for a six-year term. At the time of his election there were at the abbey twenty monks, two novices, and one postulant. We pray that the monastery will continue to flourish under his leadership.

In the administration of the temporalities of the monastery, the abbot is assisted by the advice of his council, by committees, and for important decisions, by the entire body of monks with perpetual vows, known as the monastic chapter.


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