Laughter in the Refectory: Miracle on High Street

This following passage from the history of Newark Abbey’s St. Benedict’s Prep is the kind that goes over well at Table Reading.

When Abbot Ernest [Helmstetter] died, he left a huge void in the monastery, one that members of the abbey were not at all convinced Father Patrick could fill. Monastery lore has it that Patrick O’Brien was elected abbot in large part because of his poor health… Many monks did not have a true successor in mind when Helmstetter passed away, and they also did not think Patrick O’Brien would live much longer. They figured that by the time he died they would have decided on Abbot Ernest’s real successor. Ironically, Abbot Patrick’s tenure as abbot was three years longer than his predecessor’s. (McCabe, 2011, page 77)

Abbot Ernest reigned from 1910 until his death in 1937. Abbot Patrick reigned from his election in 1937 until his death in 1967. Both had strong connections to Saint Anselm’s, as Abbot Ernest would have been the reigning abbot for Saint Anselm’s before it became independent in 1927, and Abbot Patrick was born in Manchester in 1885.

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2 Responses to Laughter in the Refectory: Miracle on High Street

  1. Arthur Helmstetter says:

    I am his (Abbott Helmstetters) Great, Great Nephew


    • Mary-Ellen Stahl says:

      I have correspondence from my paternal grandmother where she refers to the Abbott as her Uncle. Do you have additional information about him?

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