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Fr. Maksymilian Nawara OSB

He was born on 10 March 1979 in Sosnowiec. He spent his childhood and high school time in his hometown Będzin. As a child, he belonged to scouts. Then came the time for music and autonomy and freedom search, which was expressed by his works and concerts. Robert (baptismal name of the Fr. Maksymilian), together with his family, belonged to the group of so-called cultural Catholics, which means that matters of religion and faith did not matter much to him.

A severe crisis came in high school. The person who in the Future Benedictine life played a unique role at that time was a schoolmate of his. Robert asked many difficult questions. He couldn’t remain indifferent. However, the repentance did not prove to be a slow process, but it lasted three months when there was a radical turn to God, and a conscious desire to live in His Presence was born. He began to look for new ways of prayer and came across the “The Way of a Pilgrim.” Practice attracted him, but he did not find support in diocesan environments nor knowledge about it. A breakthrough turned out to be nothing special, but holiday stays at his aunt in a small Greater Poland village – Lubiń. There, fascinated by the practice of meditation, eighteen-year-old Robert not only discovers – after a series of previous disappointments – the charisma of St. Benedict but also learns about the existence of the Center of Christian Meditation, founded and run by Fr. John Bereza. This event and the accompanying condition of spiritual fulfillment is a turning point in his previous searches.

The confirmation and consequence of this experience are joining the Benedictine order in 1998. The practice of meditation becomes part of himself, and, as a monk, he participates, whenever possible, in sessions led by Father Jan. In 2006, after twenty years, Fr. John Bereza OSB, the evangelist of Christian Meditation in Poland, ended his Center ministration. The twenty-eight-year-old Br Maksymilian Nawara OSB takes over the running of the Center. His new role raises many questions and doubts, because meditation grew out of his previous way of life, constituting its integral part, which the young monk initially did not want to combine with running the Center. However, nothing much changed in his approach to teaching meditation. He understands his role in the Center as “sharing on this path with others who walk with him. „He admits that individual guidance is the most difficult, requiring significant commitment and empathy and sensitivity in the face of the mystery of meeting other people.

The Center of Christian Meditation, along with his spiritual guardian, is continually developing, acquiring a specific character, rooted in Christian monasticism, and at the same time, open to dialogue with Zen Buddhism. On the one hand, theological studies, Syrian language learning and trips of Fr. Maksymilian to India, on the other hand – fascination with Jesus Prayer as well as personal search for contact with a living, different religious tradition – all this decides about the current nature, specificity and activity of the Center of Christian Meditation in Lubiń. Participants in sessions outside the spiritual haven of prayer, silence, and retreat have a unique opportunity to meet the ancient heritage of Greek and Oriental Christianity. However, during sessions in interreligious dialogue, they can participate in meetings with teachers representing a different Japanese Zen line in the Soto tradition.

At the General Chapter of the Annunciation Benedictine Congregation in the Abbey of St. Scholastica in Subiaco, Italy, on 09 September 2018, Fr. Maksymilian Nawara OSB was elected as a new Abbot President of Congregation. Report and photos from Abbey’s Benediction from 10 September 2018 in Subiaco [click here]