Francis Kline, abbot of South Carolina’s Mepkin Abbey and a Juilliard-trained organist, will present Marcel Dupre’s “The Stations of the Cross” at 8 p.m Wednesday, Oct. 29, in Wait Chapel.
Kline’s performance is part of a weeklong visit by the abbot to Wake Forest, who is a resident scholar during the university’s Year of Religion in American Life. The organ recital is free and open to the public.
“The Stations of the Cross” is based on the series of 14 poems about the crucifixion of Christ by renowned French poet Paul Claudel. Edwin Wilson, Wake Forest professor of English and provost emeritus, will provide the narration for the performance.
Kline is now the abbot of Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist-Cistercian monastery outside Charleston founded in 1949, and director of the Office of Prayer and Worship for the Catholic diocese of Charleston. He played his first organ recital in Philadelphia at age 15. He went on to study at the Curtis Institute before entering The Juilliard School as a student of Vernon de Tar. In 1972, he entered a Trappist monastery and was ordained a priest in 1986.
As a young monk, Kline received the permission of his superiors to take up music again and integrate it into his monastic life. Since then, he has performed a limited number of recitals. Most recently, he played “The Stations of the Cross” in a special concert for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Organ Recital Series in Charleston, S.C. He has also performed all-Bach recitals at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul.
Kline is the author of several articles on the theology of St. Bernard, the pre-eminent Cistercian writer. His new book, “Lovers of the Place: Monasticism Loose in the Church,” was published by The Liturgical Press in January 1997. The abbot also leads retreats for monasteries of his order, as well as lectures and conferences for seminaries and parishes.
Kline will arrive on campus Sunday, Oct. 26, and will be at Wake Forest through Friday, Oct. 31. While at Wake Forest, he will teach several classes and lead the campus chapel service at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in Davis Chapel.
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