Father Eamonn Magrathformerly Father Anselm of NunrawBorn: Died: 13th December 2013Nunraw 1946- 1967Brentwood Diocese 1967-2013A founder of NunrawFuneral Homily of Fr Eamonn Anselm Magrath 25 January, 2014The Gospel (Luke 12: 35-40) tells us to be ready, to wait patiently for the Lord's coming. I have never known anyone who has waited so patiently to meet his Master as has Fr Eamonn, our Fr Anselm. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with the details, Fr Eamonn died on 13th December. We were expecting a funeral during the Christmas rush. Then we were told that there would be a delay as it would take another 4 days for official permission to move his remains from England to Scotland. Shortly after that the undertaker phoned to say that there was a further problem as Fr Eamonn had fallen in hospital before he died. There would therefore have to be a post-mortem. With Christmas and the holiday period, weeks went by. The next news was that his body had not yet been returned after the post-mortem. It took another week or so before the death certificate and other documents were obtained and the journey north possible. I wonder if he would have been allowed some exasperation during that wait. No doubt it increased his desire to be with God. In the beginning of Nunraw's history, Fr Eamonn, who took his middle name (Anselm) as his monastic name, came over with the very first of the founders from our mother house at Roscrea, Ireland. In the early years at Nunraw he became the first Fr Master of the lay brothers. As the M. C. he had to organise the liturgy for the main ceremonies at the abbey. He was nothing if not meticulous, as can be seen in the chronicles he kept of the ongoing events at Nunraw. Fr. Anselm, hewing of stone There are photographs of him laying the stonework in the building of the new abbey. There were no end to his talents. He was a gifted carpenter, making, for example, the first of our choir stalls, to which Brother Antony later added in the same style. Anselm seemed to be everywhere producing what was required for the growing numbers in the community in its heyday. While we were waiting for the return of his remains to Nunraw, the image that kept passing before my eyes was that of a bottle, with its message closed inside, thrown into the sea and left to the whims of the currents. Now, finally, it has come to shore. He has been found and ready for the remaining short distance to his final resting place. Anselm has been waiting a long time for the Master to come. In the parable in today's gospel, he has been waiting and ready. The Master, as promised, has come. He has put on his apron and ready to set him down at table and to serve him. 'Good and faithful servant' just about sums up the situation. All his contributions to the Nunraw community, all the serving and caring among his parishioners in the diocese of Brentwood, have been recognised and can now be suitably acknowledged by his Lord and Master. Fr Master of the lay brothers, on his retirement. by Abbot CamillusFr Anselm came with the first group to make the foundation at Nunraw. Fr Stephen Murphy was, I think, the last of the founders to arrive a couple of years after Anselm. Stephen died almost a year ago. So, Anselm was both the first here and the last to go of that founding group. It is a fitting conclusion to one period in the life of our community. The lives and deaths of these two holy men, who may not have been martyrs, may yet be the seed from which a new generation of monks come to populate these buildings which has already nourished many monks' lives. We pray that this wish comes true. May he rest in peace. Homily: Abbot Mark. Saturday 25 January 2014
Father Anselm with the Lay Brothers and Abbot Camillus of Roscrea.