Obituary: Cistercian Fr Theodore Berkeley

Fr Theodore Berkeley

Fr Theodore Berkeley

Fr Theodore Berkeley died at Mount St Bernard Cistercian Abbey at 11.45 on Monday morning 29 March 2008. Born in 1930 in Birmingham, he entered Mount St Bernard in 1952 and made his solemn profession in 1957. He was ordained a priest in 1959. Father was 79 years old, had been in monastic vows for 55 years and 50 years a priest when the Lord called him.

Fr Theodore had been in hospital for a few weeks with a broken hip but his condition declined rapidly from last Tuesday and he died peacefully this morning. His funeral is on Wednesday at 2.30pm.

Fr Donald writes: We remembered Fr Theodore Tuesday morning. In a manner of speaking, we can say that he gained a Bible Degree in Rome in order to become a hermit, as he became in the Abbey.

At Nunraw a fond recollection is that of the reading in the Chapter,Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement and Theodore Berkeley- Feb 1993). Fr Theodore was the translator and one Review comments: “The translations are crisp and fresh, the language swiftly taking the reader directly to the wisdom of the theologians of the early church”.

Fr Nivard writes: Fr Theodore's death was a surprise considering his robust health all these years. Theodore and I entered the novitiate on the same day, the Nativity of Our Lady, 1962. He, from Birmingham , in the morning; I, from Glasgow , in the afternoon. Fr Gregory and Fr Simon, Secretary, were astonished to discover that both of us had the same Christian name, Brendan, and that we were born on the same day in the same year, 12 November. 1930!

He really put his back into the daily work and easily kept up with the best of us. We respected his academic gifts, his ready smile and readiness to lend a helping hand. He continued to be most industrious when he came to live in his hermitage. He used to flood the gift shop with home-made large rosary beads as well as beautiful baskets. He also translated their new constitutions, post Vatican ll, for the Rosminian Sisters, and similar work for others. He visited the monastery every day at about 11 am for his daily needs, Mass wine, food and especially books from the library, etc. He was his usual quiet, friendly self whenever you happened to meet him.

May he enjoy the love of the Lord whom he followed with great single-mindedness.

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