Filipino Abbey and College Thank Saint John's Abbey
By Father Daniel Durken, OSB, abbey publicist, St. John's Abbey,
Collegeville, Minnesota, December, 1999.
The Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat and San Beda College
in Manila, Philippines, have recently expressed their "profound
gratitude to Saint John's Abbey ...for generously assisting them
during the darkest years of their history."
In response to a plea in 1940 to help the struggling Manila monastery
and its school to stabilize its operation during a severe economic
crisis, the Vatican appointed Abbot Alcuin Deutsch OSB, fifth abbot
of Saint John's, the apostolic administrator of that community.
Abbot Alcuin sent two monks of Saint Johns, Fathers Boniface Axtman,
OSB, and Owen Tekippe OSB, and a monk of St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison,
Kansas, Father Alfred Koestner OSB, to Manila to teach in the Benedictine
college. Fr. Boniface was appointed the first and only American
rector of the school.
Shortly after their arrival the Japanese army occupied the Philippines
and the three monks were imprisoned with more than 2000 Americans
and Europeans in a concentration camp from May 1942 to February
1945. After the rescue of the prisoners by American paratroopers
and Filipino guerillas, the three monks returned to Manila and resumed
their work at the college until their return to the United States
several years later to take up new assignments for their respective
A commemorative plaque posthumously honoring "generous and devoted
service" of these three Benedictines was given to Abbot Timothy
Kelly OSB, abbot of Saint John's, on the occasion of the recent
visit of the present rector of San Beda College, Father Bernardo
Perez, OSB. The creation and presentation of the plaque is a part
of the approaching centennial celebration of San Beda College.
San Beda College was founded in 1901 by Spanish Benedictine monks
from the Abbey of Montserrat who had come to the Philippines in
1895 to work as missionaries. The college currently has more than
6,000 students in its five departments, namely, a grade school,
a high school, a college of arts and sciences, a law school which
ranks as one of the top three law schools of the Philippines, and
a graduate school offering the master's degree in liturgy.
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael