The Freelance

Filed under Features, Showcase

Monk’s strength reflects in every action

Fr.+Dan+Lenz+%2776+impresses+students+with++his+authenticity.++%0A%22He+seems+to+teach+out+of+the+kindness+of+his+heart%22+Joe+Bruggeman+%2721+said.
Fr. Dan Lenz '76 impresses students with  his authenticity.

Fr. Dan Lenz '76 impresses students with his authenticity. "He seems to teach out of the kindness of his heart" Joe Bruggeman '21 said.

Jimmy Crotty

Jimmy Crotty

Fr. Dan Lenz '76 impresses students with his authenticity. "He seems to teach out of the kindness of his heart" Joe Bruggeman '21 said.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“He’s a very good, kind-hearted person… a gentle giant,” Bro. Luke Clinton ‘77 said with a laugh, “and he has an awesome beard.”

According to Bro. Luke, he and art teacher Fr. Dan Lenz ‘76 have “known each other forever.” The two have been living in the community since their youth, first at Mount Michael High School and now at the abbey.

One thing that impresses Bro. Luke about Fr. Dan is his strength, both inside and out.

“He once picked up a railroad tie in each hand and walked away as if it were nothing,” Bro. Luke said. “He never even lifted weights or anything. He just had all around natural strength.”

Former Mount Michael student Kane Koubsky sees this great personal strength and frequently returns to have tea with Fr. Dan. The two talk about different types of tea, and they discuss topics ranging from the religious significance of “The Lord of the Rings” to “life hacks” with everyday household items.

Even though Koubsky now attends Washington University, the connection he feels with Fr. Dan still means a lot to him. He enjoys conversing with Fr. Dan because he is so friendly and open to talk. He feels that there is always something interesting to discuss.

“He has all these interests, and he pursues them for the benefit of others,” he said.

Fr. Dan’s interests include all things art, as well as prayer, and his art and prayer are paired together in a unique way. He explained that his artwork helps him “come out of prayer or lead into prayer.”

Fr. Dan has not always just taught art. He used to teach history since his first degrees were in history and the social sciences as well as education. He did not study art initially.

“I taught history for a long time, and it was hard because I was excited about it but a lot of students couldn’t care less,” Fr. Dan said. “My excitement didn’t translate to excitement for them.”

After about 15 years of teaching history, he was asked to consider teaching art. This took place shortly after his father’s death. Fr. Dan’s father was an avid artist.

“I first started working with him when I was a kid,” he said. “He used to go over his art history books with me, and we would read and study. I was really close to him, and my inspiration came from him initially. When my dad passed away, the house was just filled with his paintings, so I was influenced by that pride to create.”

According to Fr. Dan, Bro. Luke wanted to teach geography, and there was an opening in the art position at the time. In order to fill the position, he had to get an art degree, but he explained that it was a welcome change because he likes teaching art more.

“The students are enthusiastic,” he said.

Fr. Dan loves to teach enthusiastic classes, and he sees the value in sharing his knowledge of art and various tools with students.

“It’s exciting for me to teach people for the very first time how to use a saw, how to use a Dremel, how to work with wood or stone or paint,” he said. “People have never done it before, and it is exciting for me because these are going to be things that students can carry on and do in the future. The creativity that students build is also very important in our world today.”

While teaching is one of his passions, seeking God is another. In the process of studying iconography under a Russian Orthodox professor, Fr. Dan went to work in the Holy Land. He spent this time creating art in churches.

“The mission of the church that we were working on at the time was to promote reconciliation and peace among the Arabs, Christians, and Jews, so I carved ‘Peace’ in Hebrew, Arabic, and English,” he said.

He also helped to paint a large image of Jesus and contributed to a carving of St. Michael the Archangel.

“As someone who has lived in the Holy Land, I feel a special connection to the Bible, and to Jesus,” Fr. Dan said. “The stone work there that can’t be crushed, or destroyed, or moved and it connects me to the land.”

Fr. Dan said that he really feels like “Jesus is in his corner” and that Jesus is “like a brother.” He says that prayer and spending time with Jesus is what gets him up each morning.

“In the morning, the sun comes up, and all the birds are up and chirping, and I kind of feel like it’s something deep in nature and deep in me, to kind of participate as the sun starts going up,” he said peacefully, as if he was actually imagining a beautiful morning sunrise.

He also mentioned that praising God is scientifically proven to help your body’s chemistry, and it changes one’s attitude, making an individual more positive.

“The most important part of being a part of the monastic community is to want to seek God in your life,” he said.

Fr. Dan said that the word monk comes from “monos” which means “a single focus in seeking God.” He says that seeking God extends out into all things.

Among other things, this seeking extends out into his teaching.

In fact, the majority of his weekday hours are spent teaching his art class. He shares various art skills with his students, but he also shares some theological and scientific knowledge.

Fr. Dan stated that studying is his life, and he cannot go a day without learning something new. So, it is only natural for this knowledge to flow from him to his students and friends.

“I really admire his genuine interest in all that he does,” Koubsky said. “He knows so much about so many things and he is more than willing to share this knowledge with others. He is always open to sharing his experiences and giving advice.”

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    IT Club Boots Up

  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    Ramold Runs Under Friday Night Lights

  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    Revamping Youth Ministry

  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    New Dean in Town

  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    Teachers Take in Totality

  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    Tennis Team Finds a Crucial Piece

  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    Mount Michael Chemistry Gets a New Face

  • Features

    Summer Is Almost Here!

  • Monk’s strength reflects in every action

    Features

    Drafting Program Finds More Success

  • Features

    The Chinese Spring Break

The Online Companion to Mount Michael Student Publications
Monk’s strength reflects in every action