“I know God’s love for me and I trust in his mercy,” said Abbot Joseph M. Boyle, O.C.S.O, of St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colo., not long before he died peacefully Oct. 21 of biliary cancer. He was 77.
Abbot Joseph was born June 14, 1941, in the Bronx, N.Y. He entered St. Benedict’s Monastery after graduating from Regis High School in New York City in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1970. He was elected second abbot of St. Benedict’s Monastery in 1985 and remained such until his death.
“He was a very generous pastor and abbot. He loved everything about what he did here,” said Father Charles Albanese, prior of the monastery. “He loved the monastery, he loved the mountains, he loved the brothers, and he also loved the retreatants. He will be dearly missed. He really took care of the community as best as he could.”
One of Abbot Joseph’s major projects was the construction of the retreat house, which was built in 1995 as a spiritual home for people seeking to deepen their prayer life. He also added an infirmary wing in 2000 to address the reality of aging and infirm members of the community and incorporated a solar energy field to provide clean electricity.
“He wanted to help the monastery and he wanted to live,” Father Albanese recalled. “He knew [his disease] wasn’t curable but he accepted it peacefully.”
The prior remembers especially the words Abbot Boyle said to him on a walk not long before he died: “I know God’s love for me and I trust in his mercy,” an indication of the peace with which he passed away.
Father Albanese believes that one of Abbot Boyle’s most distinctive virtues was that of hospitality.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is that he will be remembered for his hospitality. And that’s a big Benedictine virtue of welcoming guests. He loved to welcome guests,” Father Albanese continued. “He would go to the guest house to greet people. He would greet them after Mass and after Vespers. He was out there in our entrance room and would say hello to [visitors] whether he knew them or not.”
Abbot Boyle was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Mary (McCarthy) Boyle; two brothers, Charles Boyle and Father Gerald Boyle; and a sister, Joan Costello.
He is survived by his brother-in-law, Francis Costello of Berthoud, Colo.; sister-in-law, Eleanor Boyle of Syracuse, N.Y.; nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
A funeral Mass was held Oct. 27 at St. Benedict’s Monastery, followed by a procession to the cemetery and burial.