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Brother Edward, Benedictine monk and Woodside Priory administrator, dies

 

Four Benedictine monks have become three at the Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley with the death of Brother Edward Englund on Thursday, Jan 2. Memorial services are set for Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 7 and 8, in the Priory chapel.

Brother Edward, who had been in a period of declining health, was 71.

Viewing on Tuesday is from 3 to 7 p.m., in the chapel at 302 Portola Road, to be followed by a memorial service at 7 and a reception at 8:15, according to school staff. Ceremonies on Wednesday start at 10 a.m. with a mass at the chapel, to be followed by a lunch reception at 11:30.

During his 25 years at the Catholic boarding school for grades 6-12, Brother Edward -- born Richard Walter Englund -- served in various positions, including academic dean, guesthouse master, director of counseling and guidance, and director of the boarding program, according to information provided by his home monastery, Saint Anselm Abbey in New Hampshire. After a mass at the abbey, Brother Edward will be buried in a cemetery on the grounds there.

Brother Edward and his three colleagues -- Fathers Pius Horvath, Martin Mager and Maurus Nemeth -- spent decades together in their Priory quarters, a branch monastery of the Saint Anselm Abbey. In a 2012 Almanac story, they spoke of their intention to complete their working lives there. It's the Benedictine way, Brother Edward said. "We join a particular community for our life, but that community roots itself in a particular location." Growing older with your confreres is one of the rewards, he added.

A video on the Saint Anselm College website features Brother Edward talking about his life. He and his siblings grew up attending Catholic and Lutheran churches on alternate Sundays, reflecting the beliefs of his mother and father, respectively. When they were teenagers, his father put his foot down and made them choose, and Richard chose Catholicism.

He was a native of Connecticut, graduated high school from The Canterbury School in New Milford, and received a bachelor's degree in sociology from St. Anselm College. He went on to a master's degree in counseling from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of San Francisco.

In the video, speaking with a noticeable New England accent, Brother Edward recalls train trips home from boarding school that included two-day layovers in New York City, where he would connect with teenage classmates. "We would fool around in New York," he said. "You can just imagine, a teenager in New York City. It was great."

When his parents learned of his idea of joining a monastery, Brother Edward said his mother opposed it and never did reconcile with it, while his father let him know that his choice was "fine." He professed his vows three times, as called for, in 1963, 1966 and 1967.

Go to this link to watch the video.

He was "highly respected and loved and he will be missed by the many students, faculty, and staff whose lives he touched," said Priory Headmaster Tim Molak. "Brother Edward was a significant force in the progress of the Priory, both in affairs of the school and the Benedictine Community. He will be missed by all."

"Brother Edward loved his monastic community and his vocation as a Benedictine," said Rt. Rev. Mark A. Cooper, O.S.B., the abbot at Saint Anselm. "(He) worked tirelessly for the students of Saint Anselm College and Woodside Priory School. Foremost for Brother Edward was the ultimate good of the other person, (whether) confrere, student or colleague. His brothers now entrust his soul to the God to whom Brother Edward was always most faithful."

Brother Edward was preceded in death by his sister Janet, and is survived by his monastic community and members of his extended family.

In lieu of flowers, the community is asking that donations be made online to the "Brother Edward Scholarship Fund" at this link.

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