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The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate & Religion

The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate & Religion

4.7 7
by J. Patrick Rick, Curt Knoke (Photographer)

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Born from a film project, The Abbey & Me is a non-fiction account of invasion and seizure of a Midwestern Catholic monastery. The narrative chronicles a certain 1975 Native American act of Civil Disobedience and Thirty-Four days of armed occupation in harsh winter conditions. Researched and told by a former cloistered resident and novice-monk, this is a true


Born from a film project, The Abbey & Me is a non-fiction account of invasion and seizure of a Midwestern Catholic monastery. The narrative chronicles a certain 1975 Native American act of Civil Disobedience and Thirty-Four days of armed occupation in harsh winter conditions. Researched and told by a former cloistered resident and novice-monk, this is a true contemporary, cavalry, Indian, and missionary story of hostages, vigilantes, renegades, and celebrity including the late Marlon Brando facing the Wisconsin National Guard.

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CreateSpace Publishing
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

Meet the Author

While converting a successful career in medical imaging equipment sales, J. Patrick Rick enjoyed an encounter with serendipity in 1992. "Has anybody ever said you look like Bill Clinton?" He would be asked that question and respond with "Who?" Initially, he may have resented suggestions he had a semi-pudgy and liberal appearance. Unsolicited encouragement from family, friends, business associates and strangers on the street caused him to consider. It came as no surprise Tinseltown had a supportive and active cottage industry thriving in his own backyard. Rick thought it was unlikely Bill Clinton would win but rolled the dice anyway. Jumping in feet first, he produced 8x10 glossies and hit the Hollywood streets looking for agent representation with success. Patrick learned television and film credits were great for bragging rights but not nearly as lucrative as corporate appearances as the Counterfeit-Bill.

Rick's sardonic sense of humor has been a lifelong boon and occasional bane. As a presidential impersonator, it was looking as if he had discovered a way to harness his talent while writing political humor. This was coming at a time his 30-year career in medicine was waning. Surprise, Bill Clinton did win the presidency and again for a second term along with the "Counterfeit-Bill"-Rick. Alas, this serendipitous adventure would have a limited lifespan. Patrick differentiated himself from his theatrical competition by writing and honing his own act as the Faux-President. He says "For eight years, I felt people's pain and bit my lower lip so much, I'm surprised there's any lip left." Wisely, he took the Hollywood advice "Don't quit your day job."

Truth would prove stranger than fiction. During any given week, Patrick could find himself one day in surgery wearing scrubs and a mask and the next behind a podium in Puerto Rico, for instance, delivering a mock State of the Union Address. One of his clients, in his medical consulting business, was a manufacturer of breast and penile implants. You guessed it! His diverse duties had successfully created the perfect dichotomy.

With a hint of humor, Patrick Rick tells this sober story, The Abbey and Me.

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The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate & Religion 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Shawano528 More than 1 year ago
As a young man I worked as a Deputy Sheriff for Shawano County (the setting of this book)at the time of this historic event. After reading THE ABBEY & ME, my mind returned to those days of my youth. The accuracy and details provided are as my mind recalls them to be. This event would be lost to history had not this book been authored.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was an Alexian classmate of the author and a novice of this "Abbey" in 1966-67. This book was a journey back in time, reliving the experiences of our formative days in Peters Hall and the Novitiate. My mind's eye can see many faces of the other Brothers, our living, working, and worship spaces, and the beautiful property on which the Novitiate stood. I had no idea of the history and detail leading to the end of the Novitiate, although I recall hearing about it on the national news when it occurred. The history was helpful to understand what happened. The journey down memory lane was enjoyable.
BonaventureTS1 More than 1 year ago
A remarkable reading experience. The story of a young man who chooses to enter a monastery at age eighteen in the mid 1960's. What happens behind those walls of a male religious community? What was living in such an isolated area with no contact with the outside world like? His personal emotions, joys, struggle, sadness and depression he and his fellow Brothers experienced. Then years later as a grown man living back in the world, what was his reaction to a violent and brutal takeover of his former home. He tells you what peace and tranquility were present there at one time. Then he tells you of the horror trauma that ocurred years later. A book that will keep you entranced. It is personal and historical. Extremely worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is fascinating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished this book in two sittings....what a trip back in time, especially for someone (me) who knew every nook, cranny and then some of Peters Hall and the Novitiate building. So sad as to what became of it....words can't express my dismay. Excellently presented and well factually documented. The daily notations on the Indian uprising was especially helpful in my understanding of what actually went on during the days of occupation. On a lighter note, I really got a laugh out of the authors experience with the exorcist reading. Having been an Alexian Brother too (Brother Depaul), and also having participated in the reading of the exorcism details during my Novitiate days, I would loved to have been so brave to do such a prank as the Author did on his fellow Postulant Brother. You will have to read the book to find out what this post exorcist reading prank was all about!
8string More than 1 year ago
As one of the people that was in this book, I think Pat has done a pretty good job of reconstructing the story of this, now virtually forgotten piece of history. His research and detail is quite exhaustive, but there was certainly parts left out or wrong in the story (the trials of those who were arrested at the end of the takeover weren't discussed, for example). The story of Marlon Brando finding a horse head in his bed was not accurate. I slept on the floor of the room next to Brando the night he stayed there, which is when I took his photograph, and it was only a joke one of the tribal members made. My co-photographer, Owen Luck, left the Abbey the night before the takeover ended, as we both agreed, so that the photos we shot could be smuggled out of the country and published. We were very concerned that the US government would seize the film. I agreed to cover the ending of the takeover from the inside. We knew that whoever stayed would be arrested. I wasn't naive about that, as you mentioned in the book. While the story was good, here's some improvements I would have liked to see. I felt that the jump from the takeover to the author's past was not great, as storytelling goes. I would have preferred a better weaving of the two stories. I was not particularly interested in the Novitiate storyline, and found myself jumping over it. Pat could also have left out his inability to get information out of key characters. There could have been more written on the ugly state of BIA/Tribal police and what could only be called extra judicial killings going on across reservations throughout the US during this era. It led to a situation that caused many of the local Warriors as well as those who came to help from A.I.M to distrust the authorities, local,State and Federal. It also likely led to the deaths of J.W and others after the takeover ended. We'll never know for sure. The sad part of this is that Mike S. and the other members of the M.W.S. were out to help their Tribe. Their motives were good, their methods turned out to not be ultimately successful. Some of these people would have been very good to have integrated into the Tribal governance, if they had survived. It was sad to read of the end of Mike S. and Neal H. They seemed to be honorable men who deserved better. It really seemed to be about the last act of Native American takeovers in the US, that started with Alcatraz and included Wounded Knee.
seal_killer More than 1 year ago
The Abbey & Me: Renegades, Rednecks, Real Estate, & Religion, by J. Patrick Rick, CounterfeitBill Publishing, Austin, TX The cover photograph drew me into this book in a way I find difficult to explain: A grim monk stands, stern and foreboding, dressed in black tunic and scapular in the foreground of a grand, ruined building amid the detritus of a long-neglected lawn. There is no invitation, no appeal to open the pages, nothing but the stark black of the monk’s habit barely broken by the white collar. The glassless windows in the background offer no reflection and no hint of the stories buried within. One click later, I owned it. There are two heroes in this book; maybe three. The first is a mother and her love for a long-suffering, terminally ill daughter. Jennie Peter’s dedication to Jane extended well beyond the death of the latter. Jane’s sketches turned into a beautiful mansion in the Wisconsin wilderness of the 1940s. Jennie’s generosity proved equal to her considerable wealth as she donated the mansion and acreage to the Alexian Brotherhood. That generosity was used by the monks to prepare young men to enter their order, whose members have been involved in good works since the twelfth century. The second hero is a monk whose tolerance of thugs, incompetent law enforcement agencies, a state governor and the Wisconsin National Guard make him initially appear as an ineffective and weak bureaucrat in the global Catholic machine. This seemingly misguided tolerance slowly reveals his true patience and loyalty and dedication to his order and religion and love of human life. Only someone like Brother Maurice Wilson would be suitable to manage a scenario involving an out of control multitude of competing personalities, law enforcement agencies and political agendas without resulting in the deaths of innocent and guilty, alike. The 313 pages of this book could be expanded into a case study of competing systems, each struggling ineptly for dominance at the least political, social, and financial cost. It is too easy to say that the bad guys are the Menoninee Indian thugs and hangers-on that invaded and occupied the abbey in 1975. The author neither condemns nor places blame on any individual. That task is left to the reader. This reader rejects the notion that any higher good motivated the young men that occupied and destroyed a beautiful mansion that otherwise would have been used and preserved for the good works of the Alexians. Indians were not the only bad guys in this book. The Indians were far out-numbered by bad guys of other races, as usual. Marlon Brando’s appearance and disappearance certainly places him in the bad guy category. Ineffective heads of law enforcement agencies, particularly “cooperating” county sheriffs, belong in that same category as they were instrumental in extending the standoff via their incompetence. Wisconsin National Guard Colonel Simonson appears to have had no idea how to effectively implement communication, command and control of the situation. By failing to do so, the standoff was extended, property destroyed, lives risked and taxpayers placed on the financial hook. The third hero appears in The Abbey & Me as a thirteen year old boy in 1962. This is his story and it is one filled with the ambitions and dreams of youth tempered and quenched by the realities of life and unfortunate circumstance. J. Patrick Rick’s candor concerning a life full of difficult change and disappointment is refreshingly instructive. His decision to put the monastic life behind him proved incomplete until he wrote the book half a century later. Apparently, you can take the monk out of the monastery, but taking the monastery out of the monk is much more difficult.