Father John Charles Scott, O.S.B. (1945-2012)

From Saint Martin’s Abbey
April 11, 2012

FatherJohnOur confrere Father John Charles Scott, O.S.B., passed to God on Good Friday, 6th April 2012, fortified by the Sacraments, after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s. John Scott was born in Syracuse, New York, on 6th April 1945, the son of John J. Scott and Lucy Frances Scott, née Halpin. When John was five years old his father, a military war correspondent, was killed in the Korean conflict. John began his elementary education in Tacoma, Washington, but attended school in such diverse locations as Neah Bay, Washington, and Grande Prairie, Alberta, due to his step-father’s military work. John spent his last two years of high school at Saint Lucy’s Academy, Syracuse, and after graduating returned to the West to enroll in Saint Martin’s College, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in 1967. He did graduate studies in theology at St. Meinrad School of Theology, St. Meinrad, Indiana, completing the four year program in three years and one summer. In 1971, he received a Master’s degree from Indiana University, and in 1980 was awarded his Doctorate from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. His doctoral dissertation was a study of Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, the acclaimed novel based on the life of a nineteenth century archbishop of Santa Fe.

As a youth, John was attracted to the monastic life and felt God calling him to a priestly vocation. He entered the monastic novitiate at Saint Martin’s Abbey in 1967, being known briefly as “Frater Emmanuel” before re-claiming “John” as his name in religion. Frater John Scott made his solemn vows in 1971, and on 6th January 1972 his was the first ordination to the priesthood in the present Saint Martin’s Abbey Church.

Father John was a life-time academic, specializing in American history. He served his community teaching American history in Saint Martin’s College (University) and briefly at Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He was a scholar, always researching and regularly reviewing books for scholarly publications. He sought to improve his knowledge of history through travel, sabbaticals and summer study. Father John spent many years researching the history of Saint Martin’s in the archives of Saint Martin’s, Saint John’s, and Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, culminating in his writing and publishing our centennial history, This Place Called Saint Martin’s, at the time of our 1995 centennial celebration.

In 1975, Father John, just thirty years old, was named president of Saint Martin’s College. He served in the position until 1980 when he returned to Albuquerque to complete his doctoral studies. Saint Martin’s was much loved by Father John. He never failed to attend funerals and special anniversaries of Saint Martin’s alumni and friends of the Abbey and University. He was tireless in working with the University’s Office of Institutional Advancement, making friend-raising and fund-raising calls until the advancing effects of Alzheimer’s forced him to curtail these activities.

Father John was gregarious; he was also very direct. He loved history, travel and walking. He was a long-time devotee of the Met’s live broadcasts of the opera on Saturday mornings. He was cultured. He seldom refused an invitation to play a game of Scrabble, nor would he scorn a cup of tea and some good shortbread. He will be greatly missed by the many who loved him and whose lives he touched.

In addition to his monastic community, Father John’s survivors include his siblings, Barbara S. Nardone and Jerah and Jim Chadwick; his brother-in-law Bill, widower of John’s sister Sandra; and a multitude of friends and former students.

The community will gather in the Saint Martin’s Abbey Church at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, 12th April 2012, for a Vigil Service. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the Abbey Church at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, 13th April 2012, followed by burial in the Abbey Cemetery. Dr. James Vosper, a long-time friend, will deliver a eulogy before the Mass; Father Gerard Kirsch, O.S.B., will give the occasional sermon at Mass.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Father John may be made to either Abbey Church Events, Saint Martin’s Abbey, or Scholarship Fund, Saint Martin’s University. The address for both Abbey and University is 5000 Abbey Way, SE, Lacey 98503-7500.

For more information:

Jennifer Fellinger
Vice president for marketing and communications
Saint Martin’s University
360-438-4332
www.stmartin.edu