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RIP Father Timothy Horner, O.S.B.

Father Timothy

Father Timothy Horner, O.S.B., an acclaimed scholar in the Classics, an avid cricketer, a British Army veteran, the founding Headmaster of Saint Louis Priory School and the first member of his monastic community to serve as pastor of Saint Anselm Parish, passed away on Friday, April 27, 2018. He was 97 years old.

Born in 1920, in Quetta, Pakistan (then in British-ruled India), Father Timothy returned to England at a very young age, and was first exposed to Benedictine monasticism when he began studies at Ampleforth Abbey School when he was 13 years old. Upon graduation from Ampleforth, he first began to consider a vocation to the monastic life, but wanted to study Classics at Oxford.

Midway through his Oxford studies, he joined the British Army in the Artillery when World War II broke out. He served for six years, including three years in Southeast Asia – in Burma (now Myanmar), Thailand and Malaysia. While serving, he decided that “after the war I wanted to do something that I wanted to do all day long, and not something from nine to five so that I could do in the rest of the time what I really wanted to do. That was a more significant decision than I recognized at the time.”

Upon his return to England, and at the end of his military service, he wrote to the Abbot at Ampleforth to ask permission to join the monastic community there. He was clothed as a monk in 1946 and ordained to the priesthood in 1953. As a monk, he was able to complete his studies at Oxford. For several years he taught Religion and Classics at Ampleforth and coached sports including cricket, a game for which he had much love.

In 1955, after a group of St. Louis businessmen had approached Ampleforth about sending a group of monks to the United States to found a college preparatory school for boys in the St. Louis area, Father Timothy was selected by the Abbot to come to St. Louis to continue teaching and be the new school’s first Headmaster, a role he held from 1956 to 1974. As Headmaster, he took a special interest in the development of the school’s library. He also coached track and rugby.

After his time as Headmaster, Father Timothy served as the pastor of St. Anselm Parish for 14 years. Under his leadership, the parish grew substantially in membership. He contributed to and assisted in editing the most widely read edition of the Rule of Saint Benedict, now known simply as “RB 1980,” and upon retirement from the parish, he composed an official history of Saint Louis Abbey and Saint Louis Priory School titled “In Good Soil.” He is the author of other books and pamphlets as well, including a personal memoir titled “Learning All the Time.”

In 2004, the Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation recognized Father Timothy’s many accomplishments and contributions to the order by bestowing upon him the honorific title of Prior of Ely Cathedral in Cambridge, England.

He was, as the Abbot of Ampleforth wrote upon accepting him into the monastic life so many years ago, “the only sort of monk it was worth being: a whole-hearted one.” Abbot Thomas Frerking, O.S.B. of Saint Louis Abbey described Father Timothy in this way: “Brother monk, priest, confessor, counselor, teacher, mentor and friend, he was honored and loved by the entire Abbey Family. May he rest in peace.”

Services: The body will be received at Saint Louis Abbey, 500 S. Mason Road, Creve Coeur at 6 p.m. Friday, May 4. An all-night vigil of silent prayer will be kept with the body in the Church. Those wishing to pay their respects are welcome from 6 p.m. until the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 5. Burial will follow immediately in the cemetery adjacent to the Abbey monastery. A reception will follow in the monastery.

To honor our founding headmaster, we have established the Father Timothy Horner Endowed Scholarship Fund at Saint Louis Priory School. His forethought and determination to start a school of Priory’s caliber is unparalleled and one to which our more than 2,500 alumni can attest.

Memorial contributions for Father Timothy will be added to this fund, and they will be used to ensure outstanding young men continue to benefit from his work in perpetuity. Send contributions to: Saint Louis Priory School, Office of Advancement, 500 South Mason Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63141, or visit

For more information or to make a gift over the phone, please contact the Advancement Office at 314.434.3690 ext. 325.

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


Saint Louis Abbey

Saint Louis Priory School

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
P. 314.434.3690    F.314.576.7088
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