1. Martin Boylan
  2. Fr James Smith WF
  3. Fr Patrick Shanahan WF
  4. Fr.Michel Graëff
  5. Fr. Dick Kinlen
  6. Abbot Cuthbert (Peter) Johnson

Martin Boylan
1936 - 2016

Martin's Grandson writes (March 14th 2016) :

"On March 10th 2016 around 3 A.M Martin Boylan passed away.
I am his grandson and would just like to inform members of his
passing as he frequented this site so keep up to date with old friends"

Scott Magunnigle

(source : Robert Clyde)

The Priory, 1950
Back : Pat Menzies, Peter Finn, Peter O'Brien, Martin Boylan, Brian Geraghty, Alex McGarry
Front : Patrick Hart, Paul Farrell, Bob Clyde, Jim Connolly, Desmond Fitzmaurice

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Fr James Smith WF 1908 - 1985

(source: Peter Finn)

The Priory 1920-1924
Autreppe (Philosophy 1920-24
Maison Carree (Noviciate) 1926-27
Thibar (Theology) 1927-31
Ordained June 28th 1930

Extract taken from The Hampshire, January 1991, part of an article written by Dr Jonathan May. To read the full extract, go to
PAGE 61 of the HISTORIES section

James Smith, from Cwy-y-glo, Carnavonshire, of an English Protestant and his Irish Catholic wife, having both lost parents had been brought up in an orphanage first in Preston and later in Thames Ditton. He learned about Uganda at a missionary exhibition in Liverpool, and decided to follow the two White Fathers Travers and Prentice who inspired him, into the Society.

Educated at The Priory, Bishop’s Waltham, the British Seminary in Autreppe, Belgium, he was ordained in the Scolasticate in Carthage on June 28, 1930. By September the following year he was in Uganda.

According to his obituary in The White Father {magazine}, he was to travel the whole journey from Mombassa to Kampala by train, and found Ugandans at every staten along the way to greet them.

He started by learning the language at Villa Maria (Masaka) and then began a teaching career in 1932, armed with his sharp intelligence, his heart of gold, his uncompromising adherence to what he saw as his daily duty, and, of course, his new language.

In 1937, he was called back to Bishop’s Waltham to teach at the Junior Seminary and succeeded Father Bouniol as the Head of The Priory in 1938.

He was a good Superior, although now and then there were complaints that he did not keep an eye on material things! He was a severe disciplinarian in himself, as well as to others. When I met him during the War, most of the staff and students had been evacuated to St Columba’s in Scotland, but Father Smith and 11 of the senior boys remained in the priests’ house, while the army occupied The Priory.

Teaching each day, fire picquet duty at night, sharing in the services in The Priory Church, and, as we have seen, peripatetic priest to the Meon Valley on Sunday.

Attempts to get back to Uganda, after the war, were frustrated by ill health. He settled for being deputy to the Rector of the scholasticate at Rossington, teaching Moral Theology. We now have a strong suspicion as to what he did during his vacations, or perhaps en-route to his next posting.

In July 1965, Father Smith was appointed Vice-Regional for Uganda, and lived in Entebbe, Mushanga, Kisubi and Kampala. At 72, Father Jim became secretary to one of his own former students, His Eminence Cardinal Emanuel Nsubuga, but after 5 years, was interrupted again by his health.

His days were numbered and he knew it. He wanted to die in his beloved Uganda, so back he went, as curate in Nakulabye Parish, but sick leave interrupted again. Then yet again back to Kisubi Parish. Much pain, self-imposed menial tasks, good humour, dry wit and very little complaint until he died in Nsambya Hospital in 1985.

His one-time Superior General, Father Guy, once wrote to Father Jim “And over and above all the qualities of your priesthood the one I want to single out is the quality of your friendship called loyalty. You were always there; you were reliable and always reliable . . . “

A small boy, an evacuee in the Meon Valley, and later a green subaltern on national service, who only met Father Smith, warts and all, of moments, can say “Amen” to that.

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Fr Patrick Shanahan WF 1941 - 2016

(source: Paul West)

Father Terry Madden, Delegate Provincial of the sector of Great Britain, informs you of the return to the Lord of Father Patrick Shanahan on Sunday the 7th August 2016 at Cambridge, at the age of 74, of which 51 years of missionary life in Ghana and in Great Britain.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones. RIP
Milestones of Father Patrick Shanahan.

Eric Creaney writes (8th August t2016):
I have just heard that Patrick died late last night, RIP.

I don't have any details as yet but will let you know when they are finalised.

This tribute by Felix who worked for him at StreetInvest says it better than I could.

Felix writes (8th August t2016):)
The man that single handedly had the biggest influence on my professional life and the way I view the world has left us. Its not a cliche to say a light has gone out. His endless committment to street children and social injustice was inspirational; he touched so many people's lives with his courage, his oratory, his stubborness and sheer energy and dedication to making the world a better place for all children.

I think the thing I loved and admired most about Patrick was that he would never take No for an answer. His steadfast committment to making the world see street children as JUST children and not social deviants, or criminals, or petty thieves was a legacy that we must all try to live by, and ensure that those sentiments remain in the way we view all of those in society who live on the edge, misunderstood and abused.

Patrick I will miss you so much my dear dear friend.

My hope is that the work of StreetInvest will ensure Patrick's work will carry on.


This is another tribute from StreetInvest

Duncan writes (8th August t2016):)Farewell Patrick Shanahan:

It is with very great sadness that StreetInvest marks the passing of our co-founder and inspiration, Fr Patrick Shanahan, who died peacefully with his family yesterday afternoon.

His family are currently taking care of the arrangements and have said they will let us know when they have been decided. StreetInvest will also be looking for a way to celebrate his life and include as many of his friends around the world as possible and hopefully to collect your stories to share.

This is difficult news to share, and not made easier by doing so on social media. We are trying to be in touch with as many people as possible in person, so forgive us if the e-world is quicker. We will share more when we know.

Patrick was a great man who influenced many lives. Without him the world will be a worse place. Without him the world would have been a much worse place. Street children have lost a giant champion. StreetInvest will do our best to live up to his dreams of a just life for street children around the world.


MikeMearns writes (19-08-2016):

When we learned that Albert had died last Sunday, my wife Kay and I hoisted a couple of Irish coffees in his memory. This as a nod to his sense of humour evidenced by his guffaws when Kay described said drink as making “the other stuff taste like acorns”.

Albert performed our wedding ceremony and mass in 1970 at the Servite Church in Chelsea.

I met Patrick Shanahan in September 1953, when we both arrived up at St. Columba’s. We started out together along with 28 other rookies in the 36 student first form. Of the rookies Albert was the only one who was ordained 12 years later. In the eight years of our lives together as WF students, Albert and I shared a few ups and downs eventually becoming friends as we enjoyed an interest in athletics both as competitors and spectators.

With the athletics portion of the Olympics currently taking place and the focus on the 100 metres, I recalled 19 July 1957 when Albert and I saw Derek Ibbotson break the world mile record at the White City. That was when the mile was the event. We walked to my family home in Chiswick, exhilarated by what we had witnessed that evening. We often met during vacations to see a movie or a sporting event.

Albert led the choir in our second year at Blacklion (1960-61) when we practised 2 part harmony Masses for special feastdays. His voice was breaking when the BBC came to the Priory to record a service in ??1956??, so he took part in the event by pumping the air into the organ while Ted Heath performed on the keys. He was a teenager in the mid fifties and could give a rendition of “Tutti Frutti “ that was right up there with Little Richard’s. This rendition was only for a select group down on the cricket pitch well out of Fitzy’s hearing. (Fr Pat Fitzgerald) At St Columba’s he was Captain of Melrose house1954-5 and School Captain at The Priory 1958-9.

I was able to contribute to his academic performance. It happened in June 1959 during an A-level English exam when he nodded off. I was behind him in the Study Hall separated by an empty desk, but was able to rouse him with a kick and a cough without drawing the attention of Johnny Fowles who was invigilating.


By the way, it was Eric McCormack who gave Albert that nickname in our first year at The Priory (1955). Albert broke into the First Team whilst a third former: I think only Nick Kendellen matched that feat. He played left wing for the four years of our stay at the Priory. I played right back on the second team in 1958-9 and did my best to mark him when the first XI played us in the regular practice games. Good luck!

Albert was an Arsenal supporter and mocked me unmercifully for my support and dedication to Brentford. When he was in Ghana in the Seventies he was involved in the founding of a football team which continues to this day – google Real Tamale United – doesn’t the badge personify Albert? A defiant (left) fist to authority and the world, and the motto says it all.

We met up on various occasions when my family and I visited the UK. During one trip in the Eighties, our son Liam was impressed by the Punk hairstyles on display in London. Albert said to him ‘Liam, you ain’t seen Punks until you see the Masai, and one day you will”. When I told him of Albert’s death and reminded him of that remark, Liam said “Not yet, but one day”.

His accounts of his work during the Ethiopian famine where he organized feeding stations; his work in Mozambique where he nursed food convoys through hostile territory and his similar work on the Thai-Cambodian border both riveted us and demonstrated his commitment to social justice and the betterment of the human condition world-wide.

His foresight was demonstrated when, in the late Eighties, he expressed to us his belief that there would be a population shift in Africa from rural to urban. Street Child Africa was his response to this belief. How right he was.

With his fine intellect, his leadership qualities, his athletic ability, his singing voice and his commitment to improving the lot of the downtrodden and his great determination he truly was a Renaissance man.

“Well done thou good and faithful servant”

Peter Prof McMurray writes (8th August 2016):
Vale Father Patrick Shanahan WF
A true leader from the beginning. Was he the only one of our class to go the distance? I have fond memories of him trying to teach me to sprint on the Priory cricket pitch. Sadly I lacked the fast twitch muscles and apparently had a heart defect, but he tried for me.

Pat Shanahan Link
For some reason the board did not like the link so I will spell it out


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Fr Michel Graeff 1928 - 2010

Father Michel Graëff

1928 - - 2010

Ton Michel was born on the 7th June 1928 at FEL, Orne, in the Diocese of Sées, France. He was baptised in this parish on the 9th June. Subsequently, his family moved to Isère in the Diocese of Grenoble, where he received Confirmation on the 12th may 1938. In October 1939, he began his secondary school studies at St. Joseph’s College at Thônes in Haute-Savoie, completing the full cycle of studies up to the Baccalaureate in Philosophy in 1947. He was then admitted to Kerlois in Brittany, the White Fathers philosophy seminary.

Michel put into action the des­ire to be a priest that he had nurtured for several years. All his very devoutly Christian family, his parents, and his nine brothers and sisters, rejoiced in the news. He did his novitiate in 1949-50 at Maison Carrée, Algeria. At that time, the General Council of the Society wanted greater internationalisation of the scholasticates and missionary personnel in the Regions in Africa. Thus, Michel did his theology in English. He went to ‘s-Heerenberg in the Netherlands. There, he was considered suitable to take his Missionary Oath in on the 22nd July 1953. He did his fourth year of theology at Monteviot, Scotland, finishing with his priestly ordination on the 10th June 1954. 

During his years of philosophy and theology, the members of the Formation Staff saw him as a man endowed with a lively intelligence, perceptive and practical. He was a principled straightforward man unencumbered with conventional manners or poses, which could irritate some people. Michel was noticed for his diligence, in intellectual as well as practical pursuits, as a man seeking to understand. He was liked for his cordiality and candour in community.

His missionary life in Africa began with a disappointment. Having prepared to work in an English-speaking country, his first appointment was for Upper Volta and the Junior Seminary at Nasso. He arrived there in October 1954. He was to write after some time to Bishop Durieux, the Superior General, to be appointed to a neighbouring English-speaking country, at that time, the Gold Coast, nowadays, Ghana. This was done in August 1956. After a short spell at St. Charles Seminary, Tamale, he was appointed to Jirapa mission, Navrongo Diocese. There, he was introduced to the Dagari language. In 1960-1961, he was at Daffiema mission. In charge of schools, he had a very good influence on the headmasters and took active part in the development of social work in the parish. In October 1961, he was appointed parish priest of Wa until 1969. He then accumulated several duties: parish priest, Secretary to Bishop Dery, Chancellor and Diocesan Treasurer. 

During his home leave in France in 1965, he took the opportunity to follow the Long Retreat at Villa Cavalletti, Italy. On his return to Ghana, he continued at Wa. Elected Regional Councillor in 1969, he was then appointed parish priest of Ko until 1977. In between times, he became Vicar General of Wa Diocese from 1971 till 1975, and Delegate to the 1974 General Chapter of the Mission­aries of Africa. In 1977, he followed a theology updating in France at the Domincan Centre of Arbresle, near Lyons. On his return, he went back to Jirapa where he had begun his mission in Ghana in 1956. This time, he was chaplain to the hospital and St. Francis College. 

This is what Hans Schrenk, his Regional at that time, wrote, ‘Michel is a key figure in Wa Diocese. Bishop Dery and his successor Bishop Kpiebaya greatly appreciate him, not only because he speaks Dagari very well, but also because he is such a great worker. He convinced the Bishop of the need to give priority to the forming of small Christian communities in Wa Diocese and pushed the White Fathers to primary evangelisation in Sisala region. At Jirapa, he was very much appreciated by the Sisters for the spiritual support he brought them.’

In 1982, from March to June, Michel followed the Jerusalem Session and Retreat. Returning to Ghana, he was appointed to the service of the Missionaries of Africa in Ghana, as Secretary and Regional Treasurer at Tamale. In this capacity, he took part in the Financial Council of the Society at Rome in 1984. In October of the same year, he also became Director of the First Cycle of Brothers’ Formation. 

1987 was to be a turning-point in the direction of his ministry. After serious surgery in France and reckoning he would not be able to work in a primary evangelisation ministry or look after Christian communities, he turned towards formation and spiritual direction. He joined the staff of the newly founded Wanye Spiritual Renewal Centre in Wa Diocese. As he felt the need for an in-depth preparation to give retreats according to Ignatian Spirituality, he went to train for three months at the St. Beuno Jesuit Centre in Wales. All kinds of retreats and preparation programmes in the spiritual life for postulants or novices and Sister Novices was to constitute his main ministry until the end of his mission in Ghana. 

In a letter he wrote to the French Provincial in March 1996, he shared his desire to return to France for good, when he would be 70. He reckoned it was an age at which one could still adapt. He projected finding the same type of ministry he had been exercising over the years previous in Great Britain or the United States, without excluding France. 
Ultimately, Michel chose to remain in France where he returned for good in April 1998. He began by the Transition Session at Rome and decided to take a sabbatical year by enrolling in the Year of Formation for Priests at the Institut Catholique Toulouse, to take the time to re-adapt to life in France and the Church’s pastoral activity. 

In 2000, the French Province projected founding a new community in a heavily populated African locality in the Diocese of Saint Denis at Montreuil sous Bois (in the immediate vicinity of Paris). After some hesitation, Michel agreed to join the team formed around this project. After a year, he disclosed his loss of drive to the Provincial. In this huge city parish of 45,000 inhabitants, the pace of pastoral activity was punishing and only left little time free. He also had some health setbacks, which did not improve matters. He did not feel at ease with the parish pastoral team that was very marked by a status quo imposed by the previous parish priest and were ill-inclined to make changes. 

In July 2002, Michel returned to Toulouse where he felt more free to work at his own pace and according to the pastoral orientations that suited him better. From 2002 till 2006, he accompanied a team of 35 catechists working in Fermat College, a major collectivity of Toulouse. He also provided accompaniment, in connection with the Jesuits and the Sisters of the Cenacle, in the Exercises in Daily Life scheme. He also followed up with teams from the Movement of Christian Profes­sionals, and members of the Notre Dame Alliance Communion. This little-known grouping exists throughout France and brings together divorcees who have decided not to remarry. 

Michel accomplished his missionary life till the end. Naturally, he showed some signs of fatigue from the end of the summer of 2010. Nevertheless, in September, he resumed all his activities without cutting down on any. On the 4th December 2010, he experienced severe breathing problems and heart malfunction. He was then taken urgently to casualty. His sister and brother-in-law from Bordeaux came to visit him and returned home reassured by the cardiologist’s opinion. However, on Tuesday the 21st December, his contrition deteriorated rapidly and on Wednesday the 22nd December, Michel passed peacefully away.

Michel’s funeral service only took place on the 28th December. The Vicar General of the Diocese officiated at the funeral liturgy in the parish church of St. Francis of Assisi. Besides the confreres of the Sector, many priests from Toulouse attended to pay their final respects to our confrere. 

Michel now lies in the cemetery at Billère, where he was taken, to be among his brother Missionaries of Africa. 

Charles de Coattarel

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Father André-Léon Simonart, Provincial of the Province of Europe and
Father Terry Madden, Delegate Provincial of the sector of Great Britain,

inform you of the return to the Lord of Father

Dick (Richard) Kinlen

on Wednesday the 16th November 2016 in Brussels
at the age of 68, of which 43 years of missionary life
in D.R.Congo and in Great Britain.

Let us pray for him and for his loved ones.


Milestones of Father Dick Kinlen

Nat.: Britanique
Diocèse d'origine

South Shields

Année Spirituelle
Serment missionnaire
South Shields


Apprend la Langue Kapulo Zaïre S.E.


Vicaire Lusaka Congo


Vicaire Kirungu Congo


Vicaire Kifungo Congo


Supérieur Kifungo Congo


Curé de Kaseke à Kifungo Congo


Animation Missionnaire Ratho Great Britain


Superior Ratho Great Britain


Vicaire Kala,D.Kalemie-K. Congo


Vicaire Pweto,D.Kilwa-Kaseng Congo


Congé/Prov.>29.10.92   Great Britain


Curé Katuba I,D.Lubumbash Congo


Congé/Prov.>   Great Britain


Helping Preston Great Britain


Bursar London,Woodville Gds Great Britain


Nommé (P.E.96/10)   Great Britain


Secrétaire Provinc.   Great Britain


Secrétaire Provinc. London,Oak Lodge Great Britain


Bursar London,Oak Lodge Great Britain


Prov.Secr.+Ass.Bursa London,Stormont Rd Great Britain


Ministry H.C.: Lancaster Great Britain


Ministry H.C.: Preston Great Britain


Ministry H.C.: Fleetwood Great Britain


Secrétaire Provincial Bruxelles Belgique


Secrétaire Provincial EUR Bruxelles,Clovis Belgique


Décède à Bruxelles   Belgique
"Il ne faut pas que vous vous attristiez comme les autres qui n'ont pas d'Espérance". Thess 4,13

Nous le recommandons instamment à votre prière.

Robbie Dempsey writes:

"I am recalling a full TEN years I spent with Dick Kinlen growing
up as yougsters in St Columba's then teenagers at the Priory,
plus 2 years at Blacklion. Dick and I surely had many scrapes
- the earliest was sitting on a huge floating tree trunk that we launched
down the Tweed and paddled off for Berwick. Of course we didn't get too far
- except very wet. Nowadays this would result in a terrific 
Health & Safety video.

Here is The Lord's Prayer for Dick Lingala...(pinched from Wikipedia)...: 
(start with 'biso' meaning 'we' e.g, Pesa biso ='give us'.)

Tata wa biso, ozala o likoló,
bato bakúmisa Nkómbó ya Yo,
bandima bokonzi bwa Yo, mpo elingo Yo,
basálá yangó o nsé,
lokóla bakosalaka o likoló
Pesa biso lelo biléi bya mokolo na mokolo,
límbisa mabé ma biso,
lokóla biso tokolimbisaka baníngá.
Sálisa biso tondima masenginyá te,
mpe bíkisa biso o mabé.

Amen. May he rest in peace - and please
do not forget the people of Eastern Congo."

Fr. Richard Kinlen's obituary notes as published in 'Petit Echo'
by Frs. Richard Calcutt & Chris Wallbank.

Richard Louis Kinlen (known to his confreres as “Dick”) was born in South Shields, Co. Durham, U.K. on 25th July 1948. He was the eldest of three sons born to Marie and Richard Kinlen. Dick knew from a very early age when he first met the White Fathers at a Vocations’ Exhibition in Newcastle that his future could be with them. He regularly received their newsletters for young people, and so it was that he entered the White Fathers Junior Seminary, St. Columba’s College, St. Boswells, on the Scottish borders. His secondary studies took place at the Junior Seminary, The Priory, Bishops Waltham in England.

From there, Dick was accepted into the Philosophy House, St. Augustine’s, Blacklion, County Cavan, Ireland where he studied from 1967 to 1969. His Novitiate or Spiritual Year was then spent at Dorking, England. Like many of that time he found the transition from a traditional philosophy course to a new style spiritual year coming into vogue somewhat difficult and challenging. However, he persevered and went on to a four year course in Theology in Ottawa, attending St Paul’s University. Here, he was known for his rather wry and typically British sense of humour. He took his Missionary Oath at Eastview on the 6th May 1973. On completion of his studies he returned to his native South Shields to be ordained priest on 25th May 1974. The event was well marked in the local church and press as the family were well known.

In Ottawa, with his skill in picking up languages, Dick had mastered French well and so when he and another confrere were told to choose between themselves, Zaire or Malawi, Dick naturally opted for Zaire (DR Congo). After a three-month language course, he began work in one of the several parishes he was to serve in over the next few years. His curriculum vitae lists a stay in the language school, Kirungo, S.E. Zaire; Lusaka, a bush mission closed down in1975; parish work at Kirungu Mission; a stint at teaching English and Religion in various Secondary Schools; parish ministry in Kifungo Parish, Kalemie.

Conditions were not easy at that time. Travel was arduous, with long journeys to the outstations, yet Dick was very happy in this ministry, and his letters home were full of his interesting stories, with description of the people he met, their lives and the country.

In July 1979, Dick returned home on home leave, during which he studied for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at St. Mary’s College, Fenham, Newcastle. Strangely enough he never taught again after obtaining this certificate! He then returned to Zaire only to be recalled for a period of service in the British Province in 1984. Dick was appointed to the White Fathers student residence at Ratho, Scotland, for promoting vocations and mission awareness. He served well in this kind of work, and also as Superior of his community and as a Provincial Council member. The Provincial at that time described him as “very generous in his service…a community man and believes in sharing openly with people, and people like to open up to him”.

In 1989, Dick returned to Zaire and was appointed to Kala parish. In a letter home he describes the situation: “We are actually looking after two parishes, Kala and Lusaka with a total of forty-five outstations. Because of the state of the roads, we are trying to get round the villages as often as possible during the dry season. We have one vehicle between us (three confreres), so we usually do our safaris two of us together, one dropping off the other and picking him up after a couple of days”. In 1991, Dick reported on the political situation in his area: “We are all safe and well here in Kala. Fortunately we have no troops stationed here so we escaped any of the recent troubles… Inflation is currently running at ten thousand per cent. Everything goes up from day to day except the church collection”. In 1991, we see that Dick moved to Pweto to form part of the pastoral team there.

Dick eventually came home in 1995 on leave mentally and physically exhausted and because of this and the political situation in Zaire, his Provincial in Great Britain recommended that he should stay in the Province and rest. The following year he was officially appointed to the Province and started a period of home service which began with several appointments in Preston and London as a community Bursar. In 1997 he was appointed as Provincial Secretary, a post he held for the next four years. With his knowledge of computers he was well suited to this task and performed his duties well and rendered service to those less knowledgeable in the technical fields.

In 2003 feeling a change was called for in his life Dick opted for a time of parish ministry, and was accepted by the Bishop of Lancaster. In the Diocese he served in the cathedral parish of Lancaster and later in parishes in Preston and Fleetwood. The Bishop, who was then the spokesperson for the hierarchy on overseas development, appreciated very much Dick’s help with his research and in preparing his talks and conferences. In the parishes he was appreciated for the new enthusiasm and ideas he brought to the liturgy and for his African experiences in his homilies.

In 2012, the European Province needed a full-time secretary in Brussels and Dick, with his great gift of languages and his computer skills was asked to take this appointment. He was ready to return to community life and readily accepted this appointment and a new challenge.

For the next three years he accompanied the Provincial and the Provincial Treasurer to all the meetings of the European Province and faithfully presented the minutes. While the work was demanding he enjoyed the opportunities to meet confrères in different places and was always a good story teller. In Belgium he felt very much at home with so many confrères with whom he had shared experiences of mission in Zaire.

In the summer of 2015, Dick began to sense there was something wrong and it was noticeable to a confrère on holiday with him in Italy that he was not his usual self-confident and jovial self. After many months of tests, pancreatic cancer was finally diagnosed and while accepting the treatment he slowly came to realise that there was to be no cure. He chose to remain in Brussels where he was cared for by the hospital close to our community of Rue Linthout. For the next few months Dick was in and out of hospital being cared for with great kindness by the local White Fathers community. He spent the final weeks in the hospital where his brothers, Robert and Martin were able to visit him. Robert, a Diocesan priest in England, could only make occasional visits but Martin was able to be with him full time during the final weeks, thanks to the hospitality of the Linthout community. Two days before his death he concelebrated from his bed, his final Eucharist with a lifelong friend and confrere from whom he received his final anointing He died on the morning of 16th November 2016 with his brother, Martin, at his bedside.

His funeral Mass was held at the Chapelle St Michel in Brussels where he had served the African community for the last two years of his life. The Provincial, Fr Andre Simonart, celebrated the Eucharist and the Congolese choir of the Chapelle added a fitting memory of his days in Zaire to the ceremony. He was buried in the Missionaries of Africa cemetery at Varsenare.

His brother, Martin, wrote on his memorial card: “God gave, Richard, a wonderful gift: from early childhood he knew exactly what he was going to do with his life. And he did it. He never complained, never said he didn’t want to, always ready to accept his assignment and always going cheerfully. He loved us in life; let us not forget him in death.”

Richard Calcutt
& Chris Wallbank


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Abbot Cuthbert (Peter) Johnson

IIt is with great sadness that we report the death of our friend of fifty nine years Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, known to all of us as Peter Johnson.
Peter had been suffering from a malignant and incurable brain tumour since August 2016. He passed away peacefully on Monday 16th January at 8.15am at The Holy Cross Nursing Home in Sunderland where the wonderful staff have been caring for him since November 2016.
Peter was born on 11th July in 1946 in County Durham. His primary education was carried out by the Christian Brothers. He joined the White Fathers in 1959 and studied at St. Columba’s College in St Boswells followed by several years at The Priory in Bishops Waltham. Following this, he joined the Benedictine order and entered Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. He made his monastic profession there on 8 September 1966 and was ordained a priest in 1973. He was appointed as Abbot of Quarr Abbey in August 1996 and remained there until he retired from the role in March 2008.
Peter was very well recognised by the cognoscenti as an expert in Liturgical music and particularly in plain-chant. He was a brilliant musician and writer and was one of the authors and influencers of the new English liturgy which is now used daily in the Catholic Church.
Peter was called to Rome as an Official of the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1983 and became section head there in 1994. His immense skills, both musically and liturgically, have been recognised for many years and he remained a wonderful friend to all of us who were privileged to have known him quite well for many decades now.
Peter was the author and co-author of a multitude of books and his many writings on matters liturgical will certainly guarantee his memorial for many years to come.
Peter’s final appointment was as Parish Priest at St Oswald’s Catholic Church in Bellingham, near Hexham in the wilds of Northumberland. Peter loved this area and felt he had returned home to help the people in this relatively remote and sparsely populated part of England.


The photo of Peter and me was taken in the grounds
of his parish church on 15th August 2016 just days
before his admission to hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Peter’s final great gift was his interpersonal skills with all of us who have had the privilege to have known him. He was always ready to both host and participate in Get-togethers with colleagues from earlier years at St Columba’s and The Priory.
The following suite of photos will I hope help all of you who cared for Peter and enjoyed his company both in the recent and not so recent past remember him as a wonderful colleague, friend and very talented and learned man.
May he rest in peace and be well rewarded for all his efforts in helping so many, so often!

Mike Ellis January 2017

Peter, David Walker & Robbie Dempsey July 2015 St Boswells

St. Boswells July 2015

Peter vested for Mass Stone July 2010

Peter at Stone in Staffordshire July 2010

Peter and friends after Mass July 2010

Peter in Birmingham 2010

The Reverend Dr. Anthony Ward SM is a member of the council of  The Henry Bradshaw Society, of which Abbot Cuthbert was president.  He has kindly allows us to reproduce the words he wrote for that society on Abbot Cuthbert's passing.

(source: Rev. Dr. Anthony Ward SM)

Born Peter Johnson at Hebburn in County Durham, England, on 11 July 1946, the feast of St Benedict, he was greatly influenced by this fact and by the proximity of his home and his schools to the sites of ancient monasticism at Dryburgh, Jedburgh, Kelso and Melrose, Lindisfarne and Jarrow-Wearmouth. In 1964, with the Second Vatican Council in course, he entered Quarr Abbey, near Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, taking the monastic name Cuthbert, the patron Saint of his home diocese. The monastery had originally been built to house the community of Solesmes during its exile from France. At Quarr, the community kept the tradition of the chant and had a good level of scholarship, exemplified in monks such as Dom Frederick Hockey, Dom Louis Brou, Dom Henry Ashworth, the latter two long involved the Henry Bradshaw Society. The young Cuthbert benefitted from this stimulus, and in the first years pursued his musical education at several centres in France. He was ordained a priest in 1973.

In 1975 he was sent to begin further studies in liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute at Sant'Anselmo, in Rome. Later he completed a diploma in Christian archeology and the doctorate in Sacred Liturgy with a thesis on Dom Prosper Guéranger, the founder of Solesmes. In 1983 he was called to serve in the liturgy sector of the Roman Curia and in the thirteen years spent there developed many international contacts, travelling in the Americas, the Far East and Africa. His affability made him many friends and he was well known to the Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
In the summer of 1996 he was elected abbot of his home monastery and returned to take up this new responsability. He was blessed as Abbot in the abbey church on 22 October 1996 by Cardinal Virgilio Noè, then the Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica. He retired after 12 years and was a chaplain in two women`s monasteries and other centres with Benedictine connections. His last posting was at Bellingham in Northumberland.

From 1992 he had been a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and from 1997 till the time of his death, he was a Consultor of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments, appointed by Pope John Paul II and reappointed also by Pope Benedict XVI. In the long years 2001-2015 he was an advisor to the Congregation’s Vox Clara Committee. As well as serving as the Holy See’s liturgical liaison with the Carthusian Order, visiting the Grande Chartreuse in person.

He was known for a large number of studies, though his bibliography has yet to be published. Several volumes were issued in the Instrumenta Liturgica Quarreriensia, and others concerned the sources of texts appearing in the current Latin form of the Roman Rite. In 2003 he published an edition of correspondence between Abbot Guéranger and the a pioneering archeologist. Giovanni Battista de Rossi and in 2015 he published an edition of papers of Mgr Lawrence McReavy, of Ushaw College, recounting his work as an expert at the Vatican Council.

In April 2007, after serving for nearly 20 years as a member of the Council of the Henry Bradshaw Society, he was elected the Society’s President, being re-elected annually till the year of his death. Especially in younger years he had personally researched the Society’s foundation. The election was an honour Dom Cuthbert appreciated and he accomplished the role with diligence.

Abbot Cuthbert was diagnosed with an incurable tumour in the summer but suffered no pain and died peacefully according to his religious convictions in the early hours of 16 January 2017, aged 70.

Anthony Ward SM
17 Jan 2017

The funeral for Abbot Cuthbert (Peter) was held at the church of Peter's baptism, St. Aloysius' church in Hebburn, Tyne & Wear. The Pelicans were represented by Philip Mason, David Ritson, Owen Gormely, Paul Glover, and Tony Smyth, all contemporaries of Peter's at White Fathers' seminaries they were joined by the late Fr. Dick Kinlen's brothers.  The White Fathers (Society of Missionaries of Africa) were represented by Fr. Chris Wallbank M.Afr.


Peter's funeral Mass was concelebrated by a large number of priests including other abbots. Those priests and abbots reprosented the Benedictine Order of which Peter was a member, the clergy of the diocese of Hexham & Newcastle including Peter's brother Fr. Stephen Johnson, The Marist Fathers (Society of Mary) and the White Fathers (Society of Missionaries of Africa).

May he rest in peace.


Abbot Cuthbert (Peter) Johnson  O.S.B.

11th July 1946 — 16th January 2017


Requiescat in Pace.



On Monday 16th January 2017, our beloved brother, the Right Reverend Abbot Cuthbert Johnson OSB, fourth Abbot of Quarr, died peacefully, aged 70 at Holy Cross Care Home in Sunderland (England).

Peter Johnson was born on 11th July 1946, the feast of St Benedict. He was greatly influenced by this fact and by the proximity of his home and his schools to the sites of ancient monasticism at Dryburgh, Jedburgh, Kelso and Melrose, Lindisfarne and Jarrow-Wearmouth. The family of four children lived at Hebburn on Tyne where his father was a welder in Leslie's shipyard.

He entered the White Fathers minor seminary, following the example of his elder brother Stephen, a priest of the diocese. Aged eighteen, he joined our novitiate in Quarr where he took the name of the famous Northumbrian abbot St Cuthbert. He made his first profession on 8th September 1966, together with our present prior, Fr Gregory Corcoran. At Quarr, the community kept the tradition of the chant and had a good level of scholarship, exemplified in monks such as Dom Frederick Hockey, Dom Louis Brou and Dom Henry Ashworth, the latter two long involved with the Henry Bradshaw Society. The young Brother Cuthbert benefited from this stimulus. 

He was ordained a priest in 1973. In 1975 he was sent to begin further studies in liturgy at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute at Sant' Anselmo, in Rome. Later he completed a diploma in Christian archaeology and a doctorate in Sacred Liturgy with a thesis on Dom Prosper Gueranger, the founder of Solesmes.

In 1983 he was called to serve the Church in the Congregation for the Divine Worship, where he worked until 1996. In those thirteen years he developed many international contacts, travelling in the Americas, the Far East and Africa. His affability made him many friends and he was well known to the Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. 

Following the sudden death of Abbot Leo Avery (abbot from 1992-1996), he was elected the 4th Abbot of Quarr. He generously accepted this unexpected mission and did his best to give his community a new impulse. As Abbot, Dom Cuthbert began to realise the potential of Quarr as a place where all could discover that peace which it is so difficult to find in the world today. With this in mind he used a legacy to establish our new guesthouse, opened a substantial area of the monastic gardens to the public and provided the teashop and other facilities. Significant improvements were made in public access to the church. He also provided new workshops and re­established our book bindery. His temperament made of him more a man of intuition and vision than an administrator. He certainly contributed a lot to opening Quarr to a larger public, but he was less successful in managing persons.

Abbot Cuthbert had great interest in the Isle of Wight, and his cheerful presence became familiar. He served for a time as chairman of Fishbourne Parish Council. 

After his resignation in 2008, he served as chaplain in various houses of nuns and eventually took on the parishes first of Swinburne then of Bellingham in his native diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. He remained a scholar who published regularly in liturgical reviews, and a historian who wrote widely appreciated books. From 1992 he had been a member of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and from 1997 till the time of his death, he was a Consultor of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, appointed by Pope John Paul II and reappointed also by Pope Benedict XVI. In the long years 2001-2015 he was an advisor to the Congregation's Vox Clara Committee, as well as serving as the Holy See's liturgical liaison with the Carthusian Order, visiting the Grande Chartreuse in person.

He was known for a large number of liturgical studies, though his bibliography has yet to be published. Several volumes were issued in the Instrumenta Liturgica Quarreriensia, and others concerned the sources of texts appearing in the current Latin form of the Roman Rite. In 2003 he published an edition of correspondence between Abbot Gueranger and the pioneering archaeologist Giovanni Battista de Rossi, and in 2015 an edition of papers of Mgr Lawrence McReavy, of Ushaw College, recounting his work as an expert at the Vatican Council.

 In April 2007, after serving for nearly 20 years as a member of the Council of the Henry Bradshaw Society, he was elected the Society's President, being re-elected annually till the year of his death. He had personally researched the Society's foundation, especially in his younger years. The election was an honour Dom Cuthbert appreciated and he accomplished the role with diligence.

Abbot Cuthbert was a man with a great love for chant and music. He studied chant and organ music at Quarr and was further sent to France for general musical studies with a Professor of the Conservatoire of Poitiers and to study Gregorian Chant at the abbey of Solesmes and the abbey of Liguge. His liturgical knowledge and musical abilities qualified him to become a member of the commission overseeing the preparation of the new Antiphonary published by Solesmes from 2005 onwards.

During the summer of 2016, he suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with three tumours in the brain for which no treatment was possible. His condition making impossible the return to Quarr which he desired, he accepted this last trial with faith and simplicity. He had been visited regularly by his family and members of the community when he died peacefully, two days after his brother of profession, Dom Gregory, had given him the sacrament of the sick.

His funeral Mass was celebrated on Thursday 26th January 2017 at St. Aloysius Church, Hebburn, Northumberland, followed by the burial at Hebburn cemetery in the family tomb. The Mass was presided by Dom Prior Gregory. The homily was given by Abbot Cuthbert Brogan of Farnborough Abbey. A Requiem Mass was celebrated at Quarr on Monday 30th January on the anniversary of Dom Gueranger (+1875), Dom Laurence Shepherd (+1885) and Bl. Columba Marmion (+1923).

Requiescat in Pace.

Abbot Xavier Perrin and Community

Quarr Abbey
Ryde, Isle of Wight
P033 4ES
United Kingdom

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