Father Andrew Hart born 10 October 1906 entered 1936 professed 30 October 1941 ordained 25 February 1944 died 17 December 1992 Born in Dumbarton in 1906, James - Fr. Andrew - Hart joined the Abbey of Mount Saint Joseph, Roscrae, Ireland, in September 1936. He was accompanied on the journey to the abbey by his brothers Henry, William and Gerard, all priests of the archdiocese of’ Glasgow. To them it must have seemed strange that their brother, James, who had received a B.Sc. degree from Glasgow University in 1928 and a Teachers Diploma in 1929, now opted for the austere Cistercian life in an Irish abbey. He made Solemn Profession vows on 30 October 1941 and was ordained priest on 25 February 1944. After teaching in the college attached to the Abbey he was named as one of the founders of the Abbey at Nunraw in 1946. Very soon he was appointed Guest Master and with his easy smile he welcomed many visitors. Young Scots came to enter and he was appointed Novice Master, the role in which he made, perhaps, his best contribution to the community. His novices remember his teaching as derived directly from the Mass and Liturgy. He did not need to wait for Vatican II to declare that the Eucharist at the heart of the Liturgy is the source, centre and summit of Christian life. His dog-eared Daily Missal was usually his only book of reference for lectures to the novices. He continued in the training of novices for twenty years. He later served as Subprior, Infirmarian, Procurator, but whatever his administrative duties he always exercised his versatility in practical skills. He studied and took up book-binding in which he became quite an expert. He bound the big folio Latin Psalters which were so admired by visitors in pre- Vatican II days. His capacity for interior decoration found full scope when the community moved into the new abbey building. He maintained the weather recording station, and received an award from the Meteorological Office for long service in providing regular records for the area. .Scottish Catholic Observer Friday February 13 1987 ‘Weather man’ of Nunraw Abbey by Michael Fallon "Fr. Andrew Hart, O.C.R., B.Sc., of Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw, in East Lothian, is no fair weather monk. Indeed, he is very much the all-weather monk! His climatological data to the Meteorological Office for the past 15 years - continues recording of weather, snow, rain, cloud, wind, temperature - has resulted in his being awarded a certificate and the presentation of a Philip’s New World Atlas. The “weather man” of the Cistercian community is still at it, out regularly each morning in all weathers to take the readings. Which is very good going for a monk who in the past year celebrated his 80th birthday and his golden jubilee as a monk. And, be it recorded, being the Met. man in the Cistercian community is just a sideline to his main occupation which is that of monastery bursar. Fr. Hart, who hails from Dumbarton, is a brother of Bishop William Hart, the retired Bishop of Dunkeld. He was teaching in St. Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow, in 1934 when he decided to enter the monastery of Roscrea in Co. Tipperary, the abbey from which Nunraw was founded in 1946 He was Novice Master for many years and then Guest Master for a time, and a monk always with a practical turn for manual skills like interior decoration and bookbinding. His regular and energetic outdoor habits made him “just the monk” to assume the duties of voluntary observer for the Met. Office. Mr. Michael Rogerson, a brother of Fr. John Rogerson of Blackburn, West Lothian, visited Nunraw to make the presentation of a certificate and atlas on behalf of the Director General of the Meteorological Office at Bracknell, Berkshire." As a young monk studying theology he was noted as a faithful follower of St Thomas Aquinas and, with the years, this became more deeply rooted in Sacred Scripture. In his later years this was evident in his sermons and in the spiritual direction for which he was much in demand. With his strong physique he did not understand illness and although sickness did come his way, he battled on. As someone said, his motto could have been, ‘Bury me in my boots’. Indeed, the Lord called him while still active in the company of the brethren. From Nunraw Chronicle: Thursday 17 Dec. 1992: At 2.25 p.m., Fr. Andrew died in the kitchen, he was sitting down having a ‘cuppa’. The Abbot, Fr. Hugh, Fr. Raymond, Fr. Luke, Fr. Thomas, Fr. Mark, Fr. Leonard, Fr. Martin were his novices many years ago. He was anointed, minutes after he seemed dead, by the Abbot, and Dr. Wright was out here by 2.45 or so to verify the going forth of a grand old man. It was 62 days ago when his brother, Bishop Hart, preceded him to Paradise. May their joy in Jesus and Mary be great. Friday 18th Dec. 1992. Fr. Andrew was placed in his coffin shortly after lunch. Then a few minutes before Compline, he was taken down stairs to the church, with brethren about him. After Compline we said the Rosary for his repose. Saturday 19th Dec. 1992: Grave dug, snow threatening, chilly wind, bright and sunny for most of the day. After Terce, the Book of the Gospel, the Gaudete stole and a neatly folded cowl were placed on Fr. Andrew’s coffin, symbols of his priesthood and monkhood, and fresh flowers symbolising the eternal spring which we hope he is now enjoying. He loved flowers. Thirty years ago, in the old enclosure, he had a net of sweet peas, what a splash of colour and scent, Scottish marigolds were another great favourite of his, as were wall flowers. Sunday 20Th Dec. 1992: 4th of Advent. We’re having an invasion of colds and sore throats right now. This evening, we held a vigil service, in place of Compline, for Fr. Andrew. There were quite a few guests present. The Salve closed the service and then we mingled with the guests to say the Rosary for Fr. Andrew’s repose. In his homily, the abbot seemed to draw attention to Advent expectancy and how it seems to shew in Fr. A. As he approached his end, the recurring phrase, “Come, come!” works both ways; we cry, “Come, Lord!” and He cries, “Come, you ?” Monday 21st Dec. 1992: What a day. Freezing cold plus a cutting wind. There must have been nearly 200 at the funeral, Cardinal Gray, Bishop Rafferty and some 20 priests came, among them Fr. Otteran Gill and Fr. Amadeus Carey, The abbot’s homily was tip-top and much appreciated by many visitors. The singing went very well indeed, the monks for the most part knocked out with soar throats and snuffles, could leave the singing to dozens of visitors who were in good form and who know all the hymns! One nice touch, quite unexpected, was that Mr. Mike Rogerson of the Edinburgh Met. Office came to the funeral - he had seen in the Scotsman the announcement of Fr. Andrew’s death. He had looked up the records and found that it was in 1971 that Fr. A. began keeping weather records for the Met. Office, 21 years in all - we must keep it up if we can. Scottish Catholic Observer 25th Dec. 1992. Letters: God’s con-man SIR, - Last week, Fr. Andrew Hart, monk and scholar, died at Nunraw Abbey. Only God will know how many people have cause to be grateful for his quiet and shy advice, given always with that hint of a smile. The near apologetic little suggestions he made had one believing that he considered it an honour to be asked for his help. This is a trick which only first class salesmen can perform; some would pay to learn it. He didn’t have to - a mind like a razor’s edge, a quality product and a conspiratorial chuckle. God’s con-man. I myself had the privilege of knowing him for over thirty years, but found him difficult to define. Others said the same. So much of him was hidden behind the smile that you had the impression, very possibly a correct one that you were getting 10% of his attention while Whoever was behind the smile was on 90%. The first sentence of “Mister God, this is Anna” says this: “The difference from a person and an angel is easy. “Most of an angel is in the inside and most of a person is on the outside”. She says it better than me! Yours etc., Ian Fraser, Glasgow. Vigil for Fr. Andrew - An Advent Person - by Abbot Donald Fr. Andrew is Advent, an Advent Person. Just as each Christian is an Easter Person who by faith dies and is buried in Christ and rises in His Resurrection, so each Christian is an Advent Person who lives with the great expectations, the anticipation and the longing and thirsting for Christ to come. The words of the Liturgy have been resounding with a special resonance in this Church today because of the presence of Fr. Andrew’s remains. One of the things we, his one-time Novices, knew him best for was the teaching he derived directly from the Daily Missal and therefore form the Liturgical Cycle of the Church’s Year. So when, for example, we sang the proper Verse of the Great O Antiphon today, (20th Dec.), at Vespers - it put the mark of style on his passing. O come Thou, King of David’s Store Unlock the heavenly gates once more Safe journey to Thy courts bestow And shut the way that leads below. Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel will come to save you Israel - yes that safe journey to heaven’s courts has been bestowed. - and he has gone with the Key which unlocks the gates of heaven. OR the Reading from St. Paul at the same Office, speaking for the lips of the Lord to his good and faithful servant: “You wait expectantly for our Lord Jesus Christ to reveal Himself. He will keep you firm to the end, without reproach on the Day of the Lord Jesus. It is God himself who called you to share the life of His Son.” Expectancy has given way to fulfilment, the past tense has become present in the perfecting of a good life. “The Lord Jesus has now revealed Himself.” He has kept you firm to the end. God the Father has brought him to the fullness of the Day of the Lord Jesus - to share the life of His Son. Just as Fr. Andrew would have relished these words, they also give the perfect framework to his memory and the richest perspective to his life. Those who were his Novices in the fifties can recall vividly the Sunday afternoon sessions when he would sit down before a noviciate of 12 novices with nothing except a dog-eared Daily Missal in front of him - time seemed to be no object and he proceeded to unravel the whole History of Salvation and to draw his own theological conclusions of the Trinity and Incarnation. Time was no object because he loved nothing better than a good discussion. That may not seem much to us today but it was quite a novel approach at that time and, just as it happened, what the young men entering understood. In fact Fr. Andrew had been taken off the duty of guest master to succeed to another novice master whose ideas were moulded in the strict tradition of Trappist silence in which chat, even on the very spiritual plane, was not encouraged and where argumentation was unthinkable. Fr. Andrew was entirely different. He loved a good argument. Another favourite ploy of his with young men, not really at ease with the idea of intimate spiritual direction was his walk about. He would go walking with the novice, and he really stepped out and while he might exhaust him physically he got into matters of prayer and the contemplative vocation in the most natural way. Needless to say all those who have known him in subsequent years have experienced the same natural, integrated life of the spirit and life of nature in a wonderful way in his presence. And, until very recent years, they had to share even his vigorous walking - granted there was always the natural beauty of the monastery surroundings to make it easier. After forty years living with a person in community it is too soon to evaluate what Fr. Andrew has been to me. Even before I became a Novice, the ground for our journey together was made ready in a strange manner. I was away from home and I contacted Nunraw from college by correspondence. It was my first big decision - stepping out on full adolescent independence to follow this unknown monastic vocation. I was all quite on my own, independent of my family as I thought - when to my amazement I found my mother knew all about it. In that year there was a great Vocations Exhibition in the Kelvin Halls in Glasgow. Fr. Andrew was running the Cistercian Vocation’s stall. Unknown to me my mother had, of set purpose, gone there find out more and to check out what her son was letting himself in for. She met Fr. Andrew and the reassurances about this strange vocation he was able to give turned out to be quite sufficient for my mother. Whatever my own airs of independence I was, in fact, quite pleased that I did not have to explain my intentions at home. No doubt there were difficulties to follow in the two years of noviciate but, I am sure that, getting off on the right footing made all the difference. And the story which began there has not yet ended. Jesus said to his disciples, “I have longed and longed to eat this supper with you.” The Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father, the Christ who is Lord and King still prays to the Father, prays for the Advent of His Kingdom. In that Advent of longing and transfiguration of the world, Fr. Andrew has again led the way for some of us in a special way. In the heart of Christ we are One with him as Advent, longing for the Final Coming. Come, Lord Jesus. 21st Dec. 1992 Funeral Mass of Fr. Andrew Jesus said, “I have finished the work which you gave me to do.” The funeral this morning of Fr. Andrew Hart has its own rather unique historical character. It marks the end of the life of the first Scottish Cistercian in the first Scottish Cistercian community since the Reformation to have persevered to the end. Indeed the uniqueness of the life of this faithful monk does not end there - his whole story is that of a special model of life which the good Lord does not seem to make any more. It was Fr. Andrew’s own choice to leave the colour of the vestments and other such details of his funeral to the Abbot. To me it quite naturally seemed there was no choice but that the vestments should be white to express the purity and undeviating purpose of life which has been the constant golden thread through 86 years of living the faith of Christ. What can we do but have recourse to symbols at a time like this to convey the inexpressible feelings and reflections that come to us at the end of a life long in years and full of friendship and service. There is one great test of vocation which is a main principle in the monastic rule of St. Benedict, which was the vocation Fr. Andrew made his own and which he was so much at home for 50 years. According to St. Benedict the one thing the novice master must be looking for in judging the suitability and sincerity of anyone wanting to be a monk is whether the young person is truly seeking God, - and that is the test whether in the first steps or in the last lap of the race in Christian life. Is one truly seeking God, searching for God? Of course the flippant comment on that ‘searching for God’ might be, “Why, has He been lost?” But in fact that kind of response is no more flippant or superficial , when you come to think on it, than the superficial and shallow notion of seeking God as in the ‘lost and found’ department. Fr. Andrew, James, Hart was nurtured in the presence of God from his birth into religious life of a Catholic family of deep faith and his Baptism into the Church of Christ. The God of Advent and Christmas Emmanuel, ‘God with us’, was with him through childhood, through school at St. Patrick’s, Dumbarton, and St. Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow, and as he gave more and more witness to his own faith as a Catholic layman at Glasgow University and in the teaching profession. It was therefore a unique party when he arrived at Roscrea Abbey in 1936 accompanied by three of his brothers. He had decided to become a monk but he obviously believed in doing things in style. Three of his brothers were already priests, of Glasgow Archdiocese, and accompanied him on that decisive journey to enter a monastery in exile, a silent monastery of strict observance, where there was no assurance that he would ever see home again. These brothers were of course: Harry who died as a Canon of Glasgow diocese, Gerard who served as chaplain to the forces and died as PP in Whiteinch, and Willie who became Bishop of Dunkeld and who died a matter of six weeks ago with the Little Sisters of the Poor at Wellburn in Dundee. In fact, after the Bishop’s funeral, Fr. Andrew stayed on with the Sisters for what was to be his last holiday or convalescence. In the September of 1936, it must have seemed strange to his brothers that James , who had received a B. Sc. Degree at Glasgow University in 1928 and a Teacher’s Diploma in 1929, now opted for the secluded life in a far away Irish abbey. He made Solemn Profession of Vows on 30 Oct. 1941. He was appointed to teach in the college. On 25 Feb. 1944 he was ordained priest. Then the plans of God, who writes straight with crooked lines, began to take their course. In 1946 Roscrea Abbey undertook the founding of a new abbey in Scotland. Fr. Andrew was named as one of the founders. He finished his work as a teacher and came back to Scotland - his exile over. His first job at Nunraw was guest master, no doubt to ensure that the Scottish accents, which were unfamiliar to most of the founders, were understood as he welcomed the many visitors of the first years of Nunraw. Soon that particular necessity was surmounted as the whole community got acclimatised and Fr. Andrew was appointed to the role in which he has made, perhaps, his greatest contribution to the community. He was made novice master and continued in the training of novices for twenty years, during which his potential in a great variety of talents was demonstrated. He was the perfect proof that the best mystics are the most practical of men, gardening, house painting, jam making, bookbinding, all were taken up with the same gift of workmanship to an exacting standard. I for one never painted a straight line to his satisfaction nor did I ever get mitring of the book covers in bookbinding exactly as he required. Perhaps it was as well that he was never given full reign in the work department. He would have become the Henry Ford of Nunraw, not, I would guess, to the comfort of some of the more ‘heavenly minded’ of the brethren.. Because of his own university and teacher training, his prime responsibilities were in the formation and teaching sphere. His teaching to the novices was derived directly from the Mass and Liturgy. He did not have to wait for Vatican II to declare the Eucharist, at the heart of the Liturgy, is the source, centre and summit of the whole Christian life - and his dog-eared Missal was usually his only book of reference for his lectures. He was also professor of Theology as these same young monks progressed to studies for the priesthood. He himself had an enquiring mind and it was evident that he, who had no doubt been given the basics of Catholic Doctrine from Hart’s ‘Christian Doctrine’, (that Hart, no relation of his), relished the greater opportunity to probe the depths of Dogmatic Theology with St. Thomas Aquinas and the Fathers of the Church. He was eloquent too when it came presenting those classics of Catholic teaching in the encyclicals of Pius XII on the Church and the Liturgy, ‘Mystici Corporis’ and ‘Mediator Dei’. In a sense, Vatican II simply did a remake in technicolour wide screen of those great documents and in that sense the renewal of the Council had no problems for Fr. Andrew. But like many of his generation, the changing attitudes of the 60’s brought a certain degree of anxiety and suffering. It was difficult for him who always played a straight unconfused game when people began changing the goal posts. Even so, he never wavered in his fidelity because the essentials were so firmly settled in his mind and heart and he continued his undeviating journey to the end. He did so many things that perhaps outsiders would be amazed at the variety of occupations in the monastery - guest master, gardener, novice master, bookbinder, painter and decorator, cook, shop keeper, sub-prior, counsellor, teacher. One cannot help thinking of such a monastic vocation as some wave of the sea rolling towards the shore. Fr. Andrew’s life was like that special wave which rises from the sea, rolls forward with increasing power until at its peak it carries enormous weight on it crested back. As it moves forward bits begin to fall off, as it touches bottom it topples over scattering its contents to the very last drop until it finally washes the sands delivering it s very last drop right at your feet. A monk of Fr. Andrew’s calibre is like that. Once strong and healthy, laden with human freight, until the point, as with the wave, where he went over the peak and decline set in. Finally the shore of death loomed up ahead. But it is perfect, his work is done. He has given himself completely. The time has come to withdraw gently from us and return to the Source of his being. But with Fr. Andrew, true to his life’s dedication, even his final withdrawal to eternity’s shore was on the seascape of community life. To the very last he attended community Mass, on his last morning he was able to receive some visitor. On one of his recent duties, as Principal Celebrant at the community Mass, he was to be so slow and feeble but it seemed to me there was something luminous and not in the least fragile - but steady with a life time sense of purpose. And the image that came to my mind was that of the tide in full ebb. Here was a life which had ebbed away. And the thought came that the tide in full ebb gives as much glory to God as full tide. And then there is nothing more certain than the turning of the tide. And I must say it gave me great hope in the situation of shortage of vocations at this time. Monks like Fr. Andrew do not so mush die as wear out. But of what they have done and achieved nothing will be lost. Even though Christ was only 33 years when he died, he was able to say, “Father, I have achieved the work which you gave me to do.” It is a very great blessing to be able to say that one has finished one’s life’s work - to be able to say with St. Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith”.