Brother ANDREW William McCahill born 16 Nov. 1912 entered 8 Dec. 1946 professed 3 July 1949 died 9 Jan. 1987 On Friday, 9th January 1987, Brother ANDREW died in East Fortune Hospital. He was a character, intelligent, humorous, fiery, dedicated, courageously battling against ill-health for most of his adult life; first, arthritis, and then his first stroke in February, 1971. On August 31st last year he had his final stroke. What impressed his brethren during the past fifteen years was the way he faced up to his ailments. There was no complaining and he bore his slowly deteriorating health with great courage. There was little he could do physically but it will never be known how many rosaries he said daily, and what a channel of grace he was to the Church whilst sitting in his room. And almost till August last year, he recited the Divine Office privately as much as his poor eyesight would allow. Over the years, along with the continual nursing that he needed, a brother would read to him in the mornings and in the afternoons another would fix up a cassette with tapes on prayer or Scripture and so on. For in spite of his ailments he remained intellectually alert and showed continual interest in what was going on. His buoyancy was rarely submerged for long. One day in hospital, he was seen wearing a cardinal red dressing gown. His visitor said, "I always knew you were a communist!" BR. ANDREW chuckled and then sang the 'Red Flag' as best he could! On another day he was starting with his zimmer along the passage when someone asked him, "Where are you going?" He retorted, "I am going on a sponsored walk!" He spent the last seven weeks of his life in East Fortune Hospital. He was scarcely able to move, eat or speak, nevertheless his eyes twinkled when he was visited. It was a great consolation to him to receive daily Communion brought by Fr. Glancy. Such was BR. ANDREW's spirit that he has left not a few happy memories behind and we can only thank God for the privilege of having known him. Community Chronicle 18 January 1983 - At last we got Br ANDREW and his sister, who lives in Haddington, to see each other after five years. Agnes used to come regularly until she became too old and infirm. It's odd we did not think of ferrying her here and home before. They were obviously happy to meet and chat. Br. ANDREW'S sister is about 84 years old - and all there. At the front door she met Br. Ninian and his two sisters, one of whom she remembered at Brother's Solemn Profession! More than 30 years ago! Of the other, she looked at her and observed, "you're American - all American women are skinny!" Later she and Br. Ninian were talking about his sisters. He said, "Three of them went and settled in America - which is the closest they should be to Nunraw - don't you agree, Br. ANDREW?" Br. ANDREW was killing himself with laughter. 25 July 1985 - Br. Andrew composed a special poem for our new archbishop. Keith Patrick O’Brien has been well known in the community ever since his seminary days when he joined the voluntary workers who came to help build the new abbey. Br. Andrew’s poem was read as a toast at the lunch during the day, in which the new Archbishop also concelebrated Mass with the community. OUR NEW BISHOP We knew him as Keith when he helped us to build, He was willing and humble and did what he could Bearing burdens and manifold labours unskilled And whatever he thought would be most for our good. And then he was Father and blessed us all round And we welcomed his blessing, our knees on the ground. He showed such abundance of wisdom and knowledge That they sent him as Rector in charge of Blairs College. Then we called him Monsignor as a mark of respect Or sometimes Keith Patrick our Bishop-elect. So we pray that the Lord may give him the strength To continue his work till the Bishops at length Have imparted the seal that no man can efface And we all have the joy to acclaim him Your Grace. And our prayer will continue and always maintain That the Lord will provide him men to ordain. Later Archbishop O’Brien wrote to thank us for the day and, “for the beautiful poem from Br. Andrew which I am sending to the Catholic Union of the Sick Magazine.” (Br. Andrew was a member of the Catholic Union of the Sick). 10 January 1987 - We had a Requiem Mass for Br. ANDREW this morning. "Strife is now o'er, the battle is won", the opening words to the entry hymn were most applicable to him. What a courageous brother; he fought a long war against ill health for all his forty years in the monastic life. From the first, arthritis spread slowly through his body, and it was a marvel that he continued to climb, crawl, bend and keep good humoured most of the time, for years as the community's electrician. In 1972 he suffered his first stroke which to some extent paralysed his left side. His days as 'sparks' were virtually over. But that didn't hinder him coming into choir, using a walking stick to help him. He then, later on, began using a zimmer, no longer coming down the stairs, but descending by the lift. He couldn't steer himself into the stalls, and so contented himself with attending choir either in the Blessed Sacrament chapel or sitting on the front bench of the visitor's area. 12 January 1987 - Feast of St. Aelred, Secondary Patron of Nunraw. 'Snow upon snow' and this on the funeral day of Br. ANDREW. Quite a number of people who might have come were deterred by the snow, so there was only a handful of folk, locals and a small band of guests. Br. ANDREW'S sister, Agnes, now 88 years old, was ferried here and back from Haddington by Cathy McKeown who also did the 2nd Reading. The Abbot mentioned that Br. Andrew was born on St. Margaret's Day, hence his strong devotion to her, and then rounded off the divine scheme of things by remarking how apposite it was for Br. Andrew to be buried on the feast-day of St. Aelred who himself was educated at the Court of Queen Margaret. We were caught in a blizzard at Br. Andrew's grave but as we walked back to the Church the sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky! A Brother was heard to remark, "Br. ANDREW'S an awkward wee so-and-so to the last!" Hymn to St. Margaret, Queen of Scotland by Brother Andrew. Sing for a mother on her blessed feast day who in her children gave the Lord of heaven sons to be servants, maids to do him honour, hearts to adore him. Pearl of great price and held by God as treasure; driven by tempest from a distant country here to our homeland he in mercy brought her, children to nurture. Wed to a warrior; tamed his savage nature; urged him to mercy; curbed his deadly anger; melted to pity his avenging fury: queenly ruled o'er him. Homeless and helpless, pilgrims poor and needy, tenderly cared for; motherly caressed them, cleansed them and nourished; lovingly consoled them; gentle her reigning. Trinity holy, Father, Son and Spirit, bless this our country; grant we may together, one in our worship with our saintly mother, praise you for ever. Amen From Building the Queen Mary to building Sancta Maria Abbey Brother Andrew (William McCahill) was Nunraw's first recruit as a novice. Having entered the community 8th Dec. 1946 he completed forty years of religious life as a monk. Willie McCahill was youngest of a large family. His father was killed in the shipyards when he was a child. This did not deter him from going on to work in John Brown's in Clydebank as an electrician. He practised his skills on the building of the Queen Mary, skills that were later to be applied to very good effect in building the monastery. In his early years he suffered curvature of the spine. In spite of this condition he was judged a suitable candidate by Fr. Michael, the first prior of Nunraw, and in fact he never spared himself as this affliction increased. As a monk he was demanding of himself and very faithful to prayer and reading. His love and reverence for the holy Mass was very evident all his days. When the building of the new abbey began in 1954 he was at hand for all kinds of electrical work: - for installation of a stone-saw and chiselling plant, repairs, re-wiring, new wiring, etc. Later he fixed up second-hand builders' lifts and erected a stone crushing plant. He planned the electrical supply throughout the new abbey. In 1970 he was in charge of the builders. On 8th Feb. 1971 he suffered a stroke and never really got back on his feet, and subsequent minor strokes left him severely incapacitated. Still he did get about with a walking frame. The years slipped by and he became confined to his room. His rosary was always in his hand and he read the Bible and the classics of the spiritual life. Later still his sight failed and monks would read for him. His preference was for the New Testament and John McKenzie's commentary on it. In 1966 when Malcolm Muggeridge was at Nunraw with the BBC to make a programme: "A Hard Bed to Lie On - A Soft Bed to Die On", Br Andrew kept out of the way. But they met and struck up a great friendship. In fact the interview with Br Andrew was regarded by Malcolm Muggeridge as the high light of the programme. Muggeridge wrote: "Among those who have joined the community since the migration to Nunraw there are numerous local artisans like Brother Andrew, a skilled electrician from John Brown's shipyard, who worked on the Queen Mary. One notices him at once; a little bent man with a white Walt Disneyish beard. He told me that he had started by trying to preach to his shipyard mates, and then he decided it would be more satisfactory to pray for them. This is what he has been doing ever since. When he had finished speaking with me before the cameras I thanked him for the perfect simplicity and shining truthfulness of what he had said he replied that it had not been him speaking at all." (Jesus Rediscovered, Collins, Fontana Books). An old photograph of a Catholic Young Men group at Craighead in 1939 indicates something of his early involvement in Catholic life. Community discussion became a feature of Religious Life in the sixties. Differences of opinion could be strong and sometimes heated. Here Br Andrew's gift of wit often came to the rescue. Despite his fifteen years of invalid life he kept his sense of fun. He would refer to his zimmer exercise down the corridor as his 'sponsored walk'. Only a month or so before his death the district nurse attending him inquired from two of the monks about their birth place. One said "Glasgow" the other said "Coatbridge". Br Andrew dismissed the second with, "That's only a satellite of Glasgow". In his last weeks he needed constant care and was nursed in East Fortune Hospital. We are grateful to the doctors and staff and to the Parish Priests of Haddington and Dunbar who were so attentive to Br Andrew. He died peacefully on 9 February 1987, aged 74. He is survived by an older sister. Scottish Catholic Observer Friday January 16 1987 Bro. ANDREW - Abbey's first novice dies After 40 years of religious life, Nunraw Abbey's first novice died last Friday (9th January 1987). Bro. ANDREW . (74) - William McCahill - was buried at Nunraw after Mass concelebrated by the Community and Cardinal Gordon Gray. Archbishop O'Brien and local priests were unable to reach the abbey due to snow. A former worker in John Brown's shipyards in Clydebank, Bro. ANDREW's training as an electrician developed skills which helped in the building of the monastery at Nunraw. He suffered curvature of the spine from his early years, but never spared himself as this condition worsened. As a monk he was demanding of himself and very faithful to prayer and reading. His love and reverence for the Mass was very evident all his days. At the Abbey he installed a stone-saw and chiselling plant, fixed up second-hand builders' lifts and a stone-crushing plant. He planned the electrical supply throughout the new abbey and supervised builders. In 1971 he suffered a stroke, and other minor strokes left him severely incapacitated, though he continued to walk with the aid of a frame. He became confined to his room, where he prayed the Rosary and read the Bible and classics of the spiritual life. When his sight failed monks read to him. In 1966 when Malcolm Muggeridge filmed at Nunraw, Bro. ANDREW kept a low profile, but they met and struck up a great friendship. In fact, the interview with Bro. ANDREW was regarded by Muggeridge as the highlight of the programme. Bro. ANDREW is survived by an older sister. Brother ANDREW McCahill Remembered in the light of Faith - Funeral Mass 12th Jan. 1981 by Abbot Donald INTRODUCTION TO MASS: Today we celebrate our patronal feast of St. Aelred of Rievaux - and those not familiar may wonder what a Yorkshire abbot is doing as patron of a Scottish abbey. Well apart from being the most outstanding Cistercian of these isles, Aelred was, in fact, educated in Scotland, at the court of King David, whose mother was St. Margaret. BR. ANDREW, to whom we pay our last respects in this Mass was born on 16th November 1912 - that day on the calendar of Saints given to St. Margaret for whom, therefore, he had a special devotion. He once composed a hymn which was up to such a standard that we use it in the Liturgy on that day - it concludes with the doxology: Trinity holy, Father, Son and Spirit Bless this country, grant we may together, One in our worship with our saintly mother Praise you for ever. And I begin this Mass on that final note because it is in the glory of the Blessed Trinity that his life with us is best remembered, in the glory of the Trinity that his life is now fulfilled. HOMILY "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." When Christ founded His Church He enlisted all those who would believe in Him to carry out His wonderful presence of love and service. In so many ways His Church continues his activities - praise of God directly in the sevenfold hours of the Divine Office, the Prayer of the Church, the sevenfold ministry of the seven sacraments helping man in all his needs, the sevenfold wisdom of teaching the Word of God. In all of that role, the Church gives no small part to making clear the meaning of death in the light of the deep meaning that Jesus Himself gave to death. He chose: - to die for us, - to die young, - to die even a violent and painful death, in order that we could understand the true meaning of death for each of us. I said at the beginning that we can only think of BR. ANDREW's death in the dimension of that for which he laid aside everything else, that for which in the end he was stripped of all else, namely his highest aspiration to adore God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It may be the role of the Church to situate death in this transcendent dimension of the full reality of faith but it is also something that BR. ANDREW would want . If we have gathered to pay respect to him, he would not have us waste the opportunity in anything that would distract us from the things for which he lived, for which he suffered and for which he now lives for ever - a sense of the completeness of life in Christ enabling us to be one with the divine life of the Blessed Trinity. And that first and exclusive interest of BR. ANDREW goes back a long way and seemed to identify him very early in life. On a well known occasion Br ANDREW described how and why he became a monk. He recounted how the lads in the shipyard where he worked as an electrician used to kid him, "Willie, you should be a preacher", until the day when he decided he could do better by prayer than by preaching and decided to join the monks. For a man so physically handicapped he took on a great deal more besides - but he never deviated from that essential path of prayer and ever deepening knowledge and love of Christ. Inseparable, in my own recollection, is the sight of BR. ANDREW, who today makes his last trek in this snow slope of the Lammermuirs, making his solitary way from the old house to the building site in all weathers, and the sight of that same figure leading the priest to the altar with a lighted taper. I don't know how it came about that he seemed to be the one always to serve the 8 o'clock Mass for the public and therefore he had missed the transport and made his own way to work - his beads in his hand and his tool bag strapped over his shoulder. We all have our recollections and familiar memories of BR. ANDREW but how will we remember him as time goes on? How would he wish to be remembered? It is a strange thing, perhaps you find it also, that individuals who were most intimate and most important in one's life, a parent, a very close friend, seem to disappear from our minds too quickly from our thoughts, our dreams, our waking moments, when they die. On the other hand, others who only crossed our paths, and even crossed us in the wrong way, seem to linger and intrude upon our memories frequently. There may be a very good explanation for this odd experience. If we hold some persons especially dear it is usually because they gave of their best to us. We think of them as fulfilled individuals who have now reached fulfilment and are at peace. Those others, who seemed to brush up against us and perhaps left unresolved personal tensions, give us a sense of their still needing something from us - they may still need our help as we pray for the souls in purgatory. Those who would seem to have truly attained to their rest, leave us in peace. AND perhaps because their lives belong to the level of refined faith we feel they have only become hidden in our lives, their presence is unobtrusive - hence the importance of anniversaries to remind us. I think that is how BR. ANDREW will would like to be remembered, i.e., in the light of FAITH which remains constant and firm regardless of emotions and passing memories of this life.. That faith which alone can make sense of Christ's words; "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted." Yes blessed are they who accept the separation in complete faith that Christ's resurrection is the true meaning of death. That "He who believes in Christ shall never see death at all." For the Christian there is no such thing as ending life with death, but rather we each leave this life to enter the next one and indeed a far better one.