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Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., Elected Fifth Abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey

June 05, 2012

Laura Lemire

Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B.The bells atop Alumni Hall pealed for 28 minutes straight today before it was announced to the community that the monks at Saint Anselm Abbey elected Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., as their new abbot and the chancellor of Saint Anselm College.

As the fifth abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey, Abbot Mark, serves as the monastic community's religious superior and spiritual leader. He is also the highest-ranking administrator as chancellor of the college.

Part of the historic event includes the retirement of Abbot Matthew Leavy, O.S.B. today after almost 27 years of service, making him one of the longest serving abbots in the Benedictine Order worldwide. Following a sabbatical for rest and renewal, Abbot Matthew will continue to serve the abbey and college in new ways yet to be determined.

Abbot Mark begins his new role immediately. Previous to the election he managed the college's finances for 33 years and was set to retire as the treasurer and vice president of financial affairs at the end of this month. Abbot Mark professed vows as a member of the Benedictine community at Saint Anselm in 1972 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1976. He earned his bachelor's degree in political science in 1971 from Saint Anselm College. He earned an M.S.A. in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. He studied at Saint John's Seminary in Boston and St. Albert's Seminary in Oakland Calif. He taught at Woodside Priory in Calif. and received an Alumni Award of Merit in 2003 for his contributions to the growth of the college.

He was elected following a two-day election process that involved 25 monks voting on up to six ballots. Of the 28-member community, 25 were eligible to vote on 21 possible candidates. Following a clear majority, Abbot Mark accepted the honor and was immediately confirmed by the Abbot President. The group then proceeded to the Abbey Church for a service of thanksgiving.

The monastery followed election procedures in the Guide to Abbatial Elections that conform with the Roman Catholic Church's Canon Law and the Rule of Saint Benedict.

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