Oranges for St. Benedict’s Day

In the coming months, you will from time to time be treated to new recipes from “guest bloggers”. These are old and new friends — dedicated chefs and passionate voices who share our love of cooking. After all, we are Recipes from a Monastery Kitchen, and these kitchens extend far and wide, all over the world. Tables that welcome the “Stranger as Christ”, kitchens that “practice the presence of God” as Brother Lawrence taught, and communities that are built by hospitality, love and prayer. Our lives are enlarged as we welcome them and listen to their unique voices, share in their story and try our hand at their creativity.

This week’s guest blog post comes from Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette, a Benedictine monk who lives at Our Lady of the Resurrection monastery in Lagrangeville, New York. He is also an internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of several cookbooks. He is also the author of a new book from Paraclete Press, Christ the Merciful.

The son of man came eating and drinking . . .
– Matthew 11:19

The quote above was one of Dorothy Day’s favorites from the Gospels. It reminds us that Christ, in the fullness of His humanity, partook of food and drink and gave us Himself under the auspices of bread and wine.

These thoughts are on our mind as we prepare a simple dessert for the anniversary of the death of Saint Benedict on March 21. Known as the Transitus of Saint Benedict, this is the day that monks and nuns celebrate his birthday in heaven. During evening vespers we hear the story of how he prepared himself for the passage into the next life by receiving communion. Then, with the assistance of some of his monks, he positioned himself in the form of the cross to die like his savior. He insisted on remaining in an upright position with his arms extended in prayer until his final breath.

Saint Benedict is considered the founder of Western monasticism. In this humble dish we celebrate his life while maintaining his Rule of simplicity and moderation in all things.

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Oranges for St. Benedict’s Day



  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Cut the oranges evenly in half and, using a spoon, carefully remove the pulp from the inside, keeping the shells intact. Remove the seeds and cut the pulp into tiny pieces. Place in a deep bowl.
  3. Add the candied fruit kirsch, and sugar to the orange pulp. Mix well and fill the orange shells with this mixture.
  4. Bake for 25–30 minutes. Serve warm.