John and Laurie Perchak of Danville, California, have established a scholarship endowment fund, the Perchak Family African Community Scholarship Fund, to support the education of African monks and nuns at Sant’ Anselmo.
They have a particular interest in helping those students from African countries where the Church is experiencing tremendous growth and challenges. These men and women will then return to their monasteries in their native villages to continue and strengthen the educational, pastoral and missionary work in African communities, particularly meeting the needs of young people in their schools.
“This new scholarship is critical to the success of the Benedictine monks and nuns who are sent to Rome to study from monasteries with little or no means to support them,” said Father Benoit Alloggia, O.S.B., Foundation President.
“By supporting this scholarship,” John Perchak said, “your assistance will have a great impact on the lives of these promising men and women, and even more importantly the thousands of young people that they will help upon their return.”
“John and I are grateful that God has blessed us in a way that we can extend his blessing to those who are less fortunate in our world,” Laurie Perchak added. “We will all have to give an account to the Lord on Judgment Day for our stewardship for what the Lord has given to us.”
The Perchaks met Father Olivier Sarr, OS.B., a monk from Senegal, who was studying English at Saint Vincent Archabbey recently. Father Olivier was the second student at Sant’ Anselmo to receive the scholarship. He is from Abbaye de Keur Moussa, Senegal. He entered the monastery in 1997 and was sent to France by his abbot to study theology in Solesmes and complete his bachelor’s degree in Avignon in 2005. Father Olivier-Marie was then sent to Sant’ Anselmo in 2006 where he was ordained as a deacon in Rome that year. He was ordained to the priesthood on January 6, 2009 at his home monastery.
The topic of his thesis in 2009 was “Notae Ecclesiae—Notae Musicae Sacrae. The relations between Sacred Music and the Church.” Father Olivier-Marie is now working on his doctorate focusing on “the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and our conception of time.”
He said he looks forward to starting class again this fall as he begins to draw closer to finishing his dissertation and is very grateful for his time in Rome where he interacts with people from over 45 nations.
“I am seeing the world through Sant’ Anselmo where I get to see many different styles of monastic living.… This is a big moment in my life to increase my vocation, my culture, and my knowledge.” His abbot sent him abroad to study in order to help contribute to the formation of young monks and to build for the future of Abbaye de Keur Moussa.