Dom Donald McGlynn Born: August 13th 1934 Entered: 1952 Ordained: 1959 Abbot: 1969-2003 Died: August 27th 2020 Dom Donald was born in the parish of Holy Cross in Glasgow, one of seven children who all dedicated their lives to the Religious life. His elder brother Brendan, who died in 2017, was also a Cistercian while their five sisters became Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. Abbot Donald’s funeral took place during the international Covid Crisis which prevented his sisters from travellng from Ireland. Dom Donald’s Requiem Mass was celebrated privately by Archbishop Cushley, the Abbot and the Community. Abbot Mark’s Sermon: Homily Fr Donald’s funeral 4 September 2020 A week ago at our Thursday Mass the Gospel Reading was about the parable of the return of the master to the servants in his employment. The Gospel began with the words, “Stay awake, because you do not know when your master is coming.” In the afternoon Fr Donald felt unwell at the midday meal and later fell in his room. He had to be taken to the hospital to have his condition checked. While he was there his health deteriorated and he died within a few hours. This was an amazing fulfilment of what we had heard that morning in the Gospel. Not only did it happen, but all of us were not aware just how quickly it did. In 1982 the community were asked to fill in a series of questions regarding preferences they might have have for their funeral in the event of their death. Fr Donald wrote in his reply all those years ago, as if he had prophetic foreknowledge of our present circumstances, that he wanted “a COMPLETELY PRIVATE FUNERAL”. His reasons were “to spare my father from travelling and to save my brother and sisters long journeys.” His brother, then, was a member of the monastic community at Bamenda, the Abbey in Cameroon. His sisters, too, were likely to be at one of their far-flung mission posts. His next words were: “THIS WILL EMPHASISE OUR FAITH IN THE BOND OF THE SPIRIT.” Looking over the thirty-three years of Fr Donald’s time as abbot, it is not easy to remember all of things he has been involved in. Here are some of them. In his early years, a few years after moving into the present abbey building, he was quick to see the potential of wind power and considered the possibility of placing a small windmill at the farthest end of the enclosure to provide electricity for the abbey. However, technology had not been sufficiently developed to make that profitable at that time. It was not long before home computers came the scene. It seemed there was nothing they could not do, and he set himself to explore. This led to improved results in our printing facilities. In time Fr Donald became editor of our Monastic Region’s Newsletter. When he was attending the Order’s General Chapter, Fr Donald would work long into the night preparing reports which would be sent back to keep us informed of what was happening there. As regards the new world of emailing, he was one of the first in our monasteries to get involved in it. Donald was showing some of the other abbots at the time the advantages in cost and convenience emailing had over conventional mailing. After some time trying to send emails, one of the frustrated abbots complained he could have sent a dozen letters in the time it was taking to send one email. One big concern was the building of the Torness nuclear power station. It was planned to erect a long line of tall pylons to carry the power lines through our farm and quite close to the abbey itself. It would also affect many of the farms along the lower levels of the Lammermuir hills. Fr Donald attended many of the public meetings and added his voice in persuading that the proposed line of pylons be placed along the more remote parts of the Lammermuirs. All this activity takes time and care. But much of his daily life was taken up with the ordinary everyday dealings of his life as abbot. Some of the comments that have been made in emails and cards of sympathy and condolence at Donald’s death expressed gratitude for help and encouragement given by him. I think he will not have realised the effect of what he said to them or done for these people in their lives. Many people knew that Donald’s father, Dan, entered the Cistercian monastery of Mount St Bernard in Leicester some time after his wife had died. He enjoyed his time there but found after three years the rigours of the life proved too much for him in his advancing years. He said, however, that his time in the monastery was an ideal apprenticeship for retirement. We must say that Father Dan could still teach son Donald a thing or two in learning quickly. Whatever about all that, Donald as abbot spoke to the community over all these years about the meaning and living of the monastic life, about how we are born only to die, how we had to lose our lives as Christ himself did, so that we may rise again with him to eternal life. Fr Donald said all of this to us in words and now he has reinforced his words in deed. Editor’s note: It is hard now to realise that home-computing is for most of us less than thirty years old. Dom Donald was one of the first to see the power of the Internet as a force for prayer and evangelization. From the mid-1990s he created websites and blogs carrying monastic news, prayers, sermons and musings to a large and appreciative audience all over the world. One of his pet projects was actually this website: Dom Donald wanted every monk to receive a proper tribute in which gratitude could be expressed for a life of service and others could begin to see the diversity of backgrounds and talents of the Community. Return to Nunraw Necrology
left to right: Sister Josephine McGlynn FMM Sister Patricia FMM (RIP) Sister Christina McGlynn FMM Dom Donald McGlynn OCSO (RIP) Father Nivard Brendan McGlynn OCSO (RIP) Sister Noreen McGlynn FMM Sister Mary FMM In the oval inserts are their parents, Dannie and Nora.