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RIP Father Timothy Horner, O.S.B.

Father Timothy

Father Timothy Horner, O.S.B.

August 24, 1920 – April 27, 2018
Professed 1947
Ordained 1953

Father Timothy Horner, the last founding monk of the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis and Saint Louis Priory School, passed away on Friday, April 27, 2018. 

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.

FuneralAfter 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.

His Funeral Mass was held on May 5 with more than 500 in attendance.  Abbot Thomas Frerking delivered a heartwarming homily on the impact and importance Father Timothy bestowed on the entire Abbey community.  Several alumni travelled to attend the Mass and remember him for his outstanding commitment to Benedictine education.

Father Gerard Garrigan penned a wonderful poem (featured below) that highlights who Father Timothy was for so many alumni, alumni parents, friends, parishioners and especially monks.

Receive me, Lord, as you have promised, and I shall live; do not disappoint me in my hope.

•   •   •

A Poem By Father Gerard Garrigan

Never swerving from his instructions, then, but faithfully observing his teaching in the monastery until death, we shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ that we may deserve to share in his kingdom. Amen. - Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict

To seek union with Him whom you knew to be your All-in-All
You left all, all behind - family, home and fatherland,
In holy obedience for, to you, an unknown, new monastic home.
And in this soil, this good, good soil,
You served as founder, headmaster, pastor, scholar, historian.
With good reason, some feared you, but all, all revered you,
You with your pithy, witty way of telling truth, so very singular
And pointed, too: “The term has started, your son has not.”
You translated the holy Rule not just into elegant English prose,
God knows, but more importantly, translated Benedict’s tried, true way
Into a long-lived life of self-sacrifice, of monastic obedience.
And after ninety-seven full, full years, you
Came to own that, indeed your only lasting home
Was not in Quetta, Burma, Oxford, Ampleforth.
Nor even Mells, your ancestral home, no,
Nor in your beloved Saint Louis, your monastic home.
This I learned for, when we lifted you from the floor,
So light, for you who had already begun to jettison
The weight that held you to this temporal ground,
Earth-abound for all these years in this world of tears,
And left you in your familiar bed
In the early hours of that appointed morn
And told you, “Sleep well, Father Timothy”,
You were not content to remain any longer
In your bed in this fallen, moaning, groaning world.
And so, you somehow righted yourself
And rose and with that walker, that you disdained,
As any Englishman surely would,
Which you used only under holy obedience,
You began your final journey home.
The walker was found there on the floor,
It was no longer needed, inside your cell,
The cell of the distinguished Baron of Mells,
Magister Artium (Oxon), priest and pastor,
Founding headmaster, MBE, scholar, soldier, son of St. Benedict,
Titular Abbot of Ely, cricketer extraordinaire,
Gentleman, wood worker and fast, fast friend,
You about whom W. S. Gilbert surely wrote:
“In spite of all temptations to belong to other nations”
“Remained an Englishman”, “remained an Englishman”.
Yes, the walker was found there on the floor
Unheeded, no, no longer, no longer needed.
For in the end, in your end, which you knew from Eliot,
Was indeed in your beginning, you walked, no, you ran,
No, you flew, assisted only by angels’ wings,
To your final, your only lasting home of which the Gospel spoke,
The Gospel the Church had chosen for that day, that long-appointed day,
When you took your place in that place prepared for you
From before the stars were set, in your Father’s house
In which, in truth, there really are those many dwelling places
To which your Savior did return to take you
Where you now see your loving Lord finally face-to-face,
Where, please God, by your prayers, we will one day join you,
Where, please God, by your prayers, we will one day join you.

“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


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Saint Louis Priory School

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