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Two Benedictines profess solemn vows


Benedictine Brother Ephrem (previously known as Kyle Arcement), left, and Brother Emmanuel Labrise (previously known as John Labrise) became solemnly professed monks on July 11 at St. Joseph Abbey.



The Benedictine community of St. Joseph Abbey, with Abbot Justin Brown presiding, celebrated the solemn professions of Brother Emmanuel Labrise and Brother Ephrem Arcement July 11 on the Feast of St. Benedict.

Monastic profession is a public declaration before God, the church, a monastic community and one’s family and friends to live out the call of baptism in a particular way.

Brother Emmanuel, the son of Josephine and the late John Salvatore Labrise of Wexford, Pennsylvania, attended elementary school at his home parish, graduated from Quigley Catholic High School in Baden, Pennsylvania, in 1982, and then attended St. Vincent College, earning a bachelor of science degree in business management. From 1987-88, he participated in the Overseas Service Corps Volunteer Program as an English teacher at the YMCA of Keelung, Taiwan.

He earned a master of arts in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University and also held internships at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, as a hall director, coordinator of Greek life and assistant director of career planning and placement.

He was a resident volunteer for The Joseph House, a Catholic outreach to the poor, operated by The Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Salisbury, Maryland. It was there that he discerned his vocation to religious life, and in 1995 entered the Carthusian monastery of St. Hugh’s Charterhouse.

After six years of Carthusian life, Brother Emmanuel began seminary studies for the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, earning a bachelor of philosophy degree from the Pontifical College Josephinum. After a pastoral year teaching religion at Steubenville Catholic Central High School, he entered St. Vincent Seminary. He entered St. Joseph Seminary in 2009.

Brother Emmanuel’s ministries include working as a formation advisor in the seminary college, giving retreat conferences at the Christian Life Center, and serving as abbey guest master. He has been accepted into Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and hopes to finish the master of divinity degree in preparation for ordination to priesthood.

Brother Ephrem, from Lockport, is the youngest son of Warren and Nancy Arcement. In 2001, he graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and religious studies from St. Joseph Seminary College. He earned a master of arts degree in practical theology from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

He studied at Notre Dame Seminary, earning a master of arts degree in theological studies, and entered the monastery in June 2010. This past year, Brother Ephrem completed his studies for a doctor of philosophy degree in spirituality from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Brother Ephrem published his first book, “Intimacy in Prayer: Wisdom from Bernard of Clairvaux,” in 2013. His dissertation, entitled “In the School of Prophets: The Formation of Thomas Merton’s Prophetic Spirituality,” will be published in 2015. Brother Ephrem feels he was drawn to St. Joseph Abbey because of the opportunities to balance the contemplative life with ministry through education, formation and retreat work.

Brother Ephrem has been involved in youth and music ministry. He serves as vocation director, abbey librarian and formation advisor and professor in the seminary college, where he teaches courses on Scripture and spirituality. He will be ordained a deacon on Sept. 20 and then ordained to priesthood on April 18, 2015.

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