Fr Dominic Milroy OSB, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey, died peacefully in York Hospital on 1 January 2019, at the age of 86. He had been a monk for nearly seventy years, and had served as Headmaster of Ampleforth College from 1980-1992.
He was born in Swanage in April 1932 and educated at Ampleforth College. He then joined the monastic community in October 1950 and attended St Benet's Hall in the University of Oxford (1953-1957), where he read Modern Languages. His initial work in Ampleforth College spanned the years from 1957-1974, and encompassed a variety of roles, including: Director of Theatre, Head of Modern Languages, and Housemaster of St Wilfrid's House. Fr Dominic returned to work in the school on 1 January 1980, when he was appointed Headmaster of Ampleforth College, a post he held until 31 December 1992. While Headmaster, he was elected Chairman of the Conference of Catholic Secondary Schools and Colleges; he was also a member of the National Forum of the Catholic Education Service, and Chairman and then Vice-Chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. From 1997-2010 he was Chairman of Governors at St Benedict's Roman Catholic Primary School, Ampleforth. From 2008-2012 he also undertook the role of chaplain to St Aidan's House.
In 1981, Fr Dominic as Headmaster welcomed to Ampleforth José Manuel Eguiguren, a married layman and founder of a lay movement in Chile, the Manquehue Apostolic Movement (Fr Dominic's own grandmother was Chilean). He was visiting Ampleforth to learn about Benedictine education. In the Rule of St Benedict and in the monastic community he found inspiration not only for his new school in Chile, but for the whole lay community. This link with the Manquehue Apostolic Movement has resulted in more than 100 Ampleforth students spending a gap year working in Chile, and, more recently, members of the lay movement working in Downside and Ampleforth Abbeys.
In the course of his monastic life, Fr Dominic held a number of posts serving both the Church and the Benedictine world beyond Ampleforth. From 1970-1974 he was a member of the Bishops' Secretariat for non-believers; from 1974-1979 he was Prior of the Benedictine house at Sant'Anselmo in Rome; from 1993-2008 Fr Dominic was a member of the Chevtogne Group, an informal group of European monastic superiors established in the 1990s to examine the interface between European institutions and the monastic tradition; and from 1996-2009 a regular member of the Conference to the Congress of Abbots.
In the area of ecumenism, in 1993 Fr Dominic was appointed Cathedral Prior of Chester Cathedral, a title dating from pre-Reformation times, when Benedictines formed the chapters of nine of the cathedrals of England. Although today such titles carry no jurisdiction, they have been traditionally bestowed on Benedictine monks since 1633.
Fr Dominic was a popular retreat giver both to other religious houses around the world, and to dioceses in the United Kingdom. He also wrote numerous articles and contributions for a wide variety of books, and from 2009-2017 was editor of The Ampleforth Journal.
Fr Dominic's health declined in recent years and he resided in the Monastery Infirmary at Ampleforth. He died peacefully in York Hospital on 1 January 2019.
Fr Dominic's body will be received into the Abbey Church at Ampleforth on Thursday 10 January 2019 at 6pm. His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11.30am in the Abbey Church on Friday 11 January 2019, followed by burial in the Monks' Wood.
At a future date, a memorial Mass will be celebrated in London to provide the opportunity for those unable to get to Ampleforth to gather in remembrance of Fr Dominic.
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