Abbot Benedict Neenan, O.S.B. was elected as the abbot of the Benedictine monks of Conception Abbey, Conception, Mo. on Tuesday, November 22, 2016.
He is the 10th abbot in Conception Abbey’s 143-year history, succeeding Abbot Gregory Polan, O.S.B., who was elected Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Confederation in early September. Polan had served as abbot since November 6, 1996.
Abbot Benedict, 67, was most recently assigned Business Manager of Conception Abbey since 2008 and Development Director since 2014. In these roles, Abbot Benedict oversaw the management of Conception Abbey’s apostolates and development.
Born in Kansas City, Mo, on January 3, 1949, Abbot Benedict professed vows as a Benedictine monk on October 18, 1980, and was ordained a priest on August 20, 1988. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Colorado State University in 1971 and a Journeyman’s Degree from the Bavarian State School of Wood Carving and Sculpture in Germany in 1976.
He then earned a masters degree in sacred theology from the Catholic University of America in 1988 and a Ph.D. in Church History from the Catholic University of America in 1996.
From 1990-93 he was the Prior of Conception Abbey, second in leadership in the monastery. From 1996-2008, Abbot Benedict served as President-Rector of Conception Seminary College and as a professor of theology and church history at the seminary since 1990. He has also served as a spiritual director for seminarians and lay people, the monastic Vocations Director, and has given retreats in the Abbey Guest Center.
Abbot Benedict is the author of Thomas Verner Moore: Psychiatrist, Educator and Monk, a publication concerning Moore’s work in psychology in relationship to the Roman Catholic Church.
Founded in 1873 from a monastery in Engelberg, Switzerland, Conception Abbey strives to continue it’s mission of prayer and service to the Church. The 54 monks of Conception Abbey operate Conception Seminary College, which educates future priests and permanent deacons, the Abbey Guest Center, and The Printery House, a producer of Christian greeting cards and vendor of Christian gifts.