Saint Martin's monk and teacher Father William Maat, O.S.B., dies

Aug. 1, 2005

Lacey, Wash. – Father William Maat, Order of St. Benedict, a priest and former teacher, died in his sleep July 31, 2005, at Mother Joseph Care Center. He was 98.

Members of the Saint Martin’s College community join Saint Martin’s Abbey, where Father William had been a member since 1960, in honoring his life.

A vigil service will be at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at Saint Martin’s Abbey Church, 5300 Pacific Ave., Lacey. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for him at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5. Burial will follow at Saint Martin’s Abbey Cemetery.

Father William was born Anthony Maat on Jan. 5, 1907, in Rotterdam, Holland. He was the son of Jonis J. and Barbara Vander Helm Maat. His family immigrated to the United States when he was an infant, and he attended elementary schools near Red Lodge, Mont. He later attended St. Benedict’s High School and College in Atchison, Kansas, receiving his bachelor’s degree from the college in 1930. He went on to earn a doctorate from The Catholic University of America in 1944 and a certificate in spiritual theology from the Dominican House of Studies in 1957 in Chicago.

He entered the Benedictine novitiate at St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Penn., in 1927, making his solemn vows in 1931 at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison. Following studies at St. Benedict’s School of Theology, he was ordained to the priesthood in May 1933 at St. Benedicts, celebrating his first Mass at Kalamazoo, Mich. He transferred to Lacey’s Saint Martin’s Abbey in 1960. His monastic assignments included service as brother director at St. Benedict’s and as oblate director at both St. Benedict’s and Saint Martin’s.

Father William taught Latin, Greek and religion at the high school and college level for many years. As a priest, he served in parishes, hospitals, prisons and retirement homes in Kansas, British Columbia, the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Portland, Ore. His pastorates included St. Margaret Mary Parish in McKenna; Holy Rosary in Tacoma and Queen of Angels in Port Angeles. Before his retirement from ill health at 95, he was a pastor in Waldport and Rockaway, Ore.

He is remembered at Saint Martin’s for his affinity for the color red, and received a guest a few days before his death attired in his signature red sweater and red socks, said Abbot Neal Roth, O.S.B., of Saint Martin’s Abbey.

He also is remembered for his work with Cursillo de Cristiandad, a movement started that asks its followers to lead others to Christ through inspiration, by exemplifying Jesus’ life. An early supporter, Father William served as director of the Cursillo Movement within the Archdiocese of Seattle from 1963 to 1968. He remained interested in the movement for the rest of his life and was highly regarded by those who worked within it.

“Father William was a caring man, a man of God, who continued to seek and to introduce God to others throughout his life,” said Abbot Neal. “He was always excited about presenting the gospel and evangelizing, and he was very ecumenically minded, as well. The fabric of our community is changed with his passing.”

Deanna Partlow
Office of Communication
360-438-4541; dpartlow@stmartin.edu