Brother Peter O'Dea born 23 June 1923 entered 6 January 1944 professed 1949 died 8 October 1981 'What matters is not how long you live but how well you live' Brother Peter, Senan O'Dea, a monk of NUNRAW for 35 years, a man of quiet strength, unflagging service and quiet ways, died suddenly on Thursday 8th October 1981. While other monks waited for him to join them for a visit to a neighbouring village to give blood to the transfusion service, he had a massive heart attack. They searched and found him fallen on the footpath outside the abbey, already past medical help. Brother Peter was 58 and a native of Kilkee, Co. Clare. He entered the Cistercian Order at Mt. St. Joseph, Roscrea, Ireland in 1944 and was professed in July 1946, in time to join the party of monks travelling to Scotland to refound Cistercian life after the long post-reformation breach. He served as cook in the old house that did duty as abbey and guest-house cook for many years, and when the building of the new abbey began, Bro. Peter served his apprenticeship as a stone-mason. It was a craft in which he acquired great skill, and the kitchen saw him only on rare occasions. When the new abbey was completed after 15 years, he went back happily to the guesthouse cooking stove, where he served good meals day in and day out for the past ten years and more. His talent for watch repairing was less widely known and his skill in this delicate craft, compared with the weight and sweat of stone-masonry, and the very different demands of cooking well, fitted in with his desire to serve well in whatever area he was called. His life was one of unceasing service but this was not all. In a tribute from his brethren, Fr. Michael Sherry said. "We were privileged to see his fidelity and regularity in living the monastic life. Despite his busy round, he was ever a man of prayer and holy reading. One was surprised to find him so well-read in the theory of evolution and he had strongly held views about creation giving glory to God alone. We would not hesitate to apply to him the, words of Dr. Martin Luther King. 'What matters is not how long you live, but how well you live,'" He had become well known during his many years at Nunraw to the hundreds of volunteers who cam during many summers to labour on the abbey building and to even more during his long ministry of catering for the visitors who have flocked to Nunraw ever since it opened its doors. The congregation at his funeral Mass gave ample testimony of the esteem in which this quiet man was held. It is the third death within 12 months of pioneer members of the Nunraw community. Fr. Joseph O'Dea, theologian, scholar and prior, died suddenly the previous October, aged 51, and Fr. John Shanahan died in April of this year. Community Chronicle Thursday 8th October 1981 Five brethren hastened off in two cars to East Linton for donating blood, immediately after Vespers. One car went to the guesthouse to pick up Br. Peter, he wasn't there, so Br. Aidan decided to return to the monastery because he knew that Br. Peter wanted very much to go to East Linton with the five others. He returned, parked his car down from the Reception door and on getting out, saw a recumbent figure on the pathway outside the Prior's room - it was Br. Peter, he had died a few minutes before. He called the abbot who had just returned with Fr. Mark from Mt. St. Bernard. Meanwhile the occupants of the second car had arrived at East Linton and given blood, and wondered why Br. Aidan and his two companions were long in coming - one of the Blood Transfusion ladies thought that they may have decided to go to the pub! The doctor, Dr. Cranston came to Nunraw as quick as possible and diagnosed that Br. Peter had died of a massive heart attack. The police were not able to come until an ambulance was available and that was not until 9.30 p.m., so as to remove the remains to the Edinburgh mortuary for the post mortem. Br. Peter was laid out in the Prior's room; the left side of his face was bruised by the fall on the flagstones. His health had not been robust for some time, on occasion his heart played up and he had to rest awhile. We will feel his loss much. He was held in great esteem by all who knew him; a gentle, industrious, regular, prayerful monk - the only unflappable member of the guest house staff; for many years he was a tower of strength to that establishment, in a most unassuming manner. Saturday 10th October 1981: Br. Peter's remains arrived back from Edinburgh mortuary before lunch. During the afternoon, a beautiful floral cross was brought, made up with yellow and white flowers and finished off with a dozen or so red roses, a magnificent mark of appreciation. After Compline in the Church, we were joined by our visitors in saying the Rosary for Br. Peter; he is getting a great send off. Monday 12th October 1981: some 150 visitors joined the community and Br. Peter's family to commit him wholly into the Lord's hands. It was a simple and moving service. Bishop William Hart, now retired arrived just in time for the Mass. Fr. Michael Casey and many old faithful friends and new friends of Nunraw also came. Monday 12th October 1981: Full moon, cloudless sky, not too cold. Br. Peter's absence is noticeable in little ways: no familiar tread along the cloister during prayer before Mass, one less to give Communion to on the tongue, one less familiar candle bearer at Benediction, no light on in the boot room after breakfast whilst Br. Peter got ready to walk down to the guest house, no matter what the weather, a watch he won't be around anymore to clean, a Cross, simple and black, in his refectory place.