15 December, 2018 - Br. William passes to Christ




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Br. William with his mother in 1971 - this photo was taken by John Howard Griffin

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Br. William Leone passed quietly and peacefully to God before Vigils this morning.

He was born in Pittsburgh on the 15th of August, 1927. He served in the marines and was part of the Marine Corps band playing clarinet. He entered Gethsemani on his 37th birthday, the 15th of August, 1964 as a laybrother, but was moved to choir monk after the unification in 1965. He made his solemn profession on the feast of All Saints, the 1st of November, 1970. He was 91 years old, had been at Gethsemani for 54 years and in solemn vows for 48 years.

During his time at Gethsemani he held many jobs. He worked in the garden for years, in the fudge department, and served in the kitchen. He took the rule that monks only eat in the refectory and at meal times so seriously that he would taste his own cooking by putting it in his mouth then spitting it out.


Br. William was unfailingly kind and considerate. One of our priests characterized his spirituality as "silence, siimplicity, and humility." He was deeply prayerful and dedicated to the monastic life. He prayed the rosary each day in the infirm chapel, and often could be found at other times there in silient prayer.

In his later years, Br. William suffered from curvature of the spine and various other ailments which eventually confined him to a wheelchair. Although he must have been in pain, he never complained, except to say that he did not have enough work. He spent hours, along with Br. Frank, putting boxes together for the fudge operatons and for our shipping department.

Br. William was to some of us a living saint. We, and many others over the years, have been privileged to know him.



Br. William as a young man

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