Fr Justin Caldwell OSB, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey and former Headmaster of the school at Gilling Castle, died peacefully in his sleep at Ampleforth on Good Friday, 29 March 2013. He was 83 years old. With his natural shyness but warm smile, Fr Justin will be remembered by many for his sensitive pastoral care extended to many people in the course of more than thirty years’ service in Ampleforth’s schools and nearly twenty years on the parish missions.
Fr Justin went to school at Gilling Castle and Ampleforth College and joined the monastic community in September 1947. He went to St Benet’s Hall in Oxford and read Modern Languages and from 1955 worked in Ampleforth’s prep school at Gilling Castle. Nearly twenty years later, he became Headmaster, a post he held from 1971-1981.
In September 1981, Fr Justin began work on Ampleforth’s parishes that would see his pastoral skills put to great service in a wide variety of situations: from the Lancashire parishes of Lostock Hall, Leyland, Bamber Bridge, and Workington, to work as a part-time chaplain in HMP Wymott Prison; or in St Catherine’s Hospice, Lostock Hall; and St Joseph’s School, Workington.
In 1999, Fr Justin returned to Ampleforth Abbey where he was able to continue one of his great hobbies: chess. He taught chess in Ampleforth College – he had already been playing postal chess for Cumbria since 1990 – and from 2000 until 2011 was playing correspondence chess for Yorkshire. Between 1991 and 2011 he was thirteen times champion of the Clergy Correspondence Chess Club. Fr Justin also provided regular supply work in the parishes, was part-time Assistant Chaplain at St Martin’s Ampleforth, and from 2006-2012 was chaplain of St Bede’s House in Ampleforth College.
In recent years he had suffered ill health and died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Good Friday, 29 March 2013.
His funeral Mass was celebrated in Ampleforth Abbey on Tuesday 9 April, followed by burial in the vault in the Monks’ Wood.
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