Abbot Patrick Barry, OSB, the Abbot-Emeritus of Ample-forth Abbey and Ample-forth Abbey’s oldest monk passed away peacefully in the monastery infirmary at Ample-forth Abbey on Sunday 21 February 2016.
His death was marked with the traditional ringing of the bell in the abbey church tower, with one toll for each year of his life.
Noel Barry (he took the name of Patrick on becoming a monk) was born in Wallasey, Cheshire, on December 6 1917. Abbot Barry schooled at Ampleforth College and was professed a monk on 23 September 1939. Following studies at St Benet’s Hall at the University of Oxford, Fr Barry returned to Ampleforth and became school librarian and Senior Classics Master.
Ten years later, in September 1964, he was appointed Headmaster of Ampleforth College by Abbot Basil Hume where he ruled for 15 years. In this role he also became Chairman of the Headmasters’ Conference, and was regarded as one of the outstanding headmasters of the 20th century.
He retired as headmaster in 1980 and in 1984, after a sabbatical, was elected the sixth Abbot of Ampleforth. Re-elected in 1992, he retired from office in March 1997.
Abbot Patrick was a renowned author, and his works include: St Benedict’s Rule: A New Translation for Today, which was published in 1997 and remains one of the most popular contemporary translations; Wisdom from the Monastery: the Rule of St Benedict for Everyday Life, and St Benedict’s Prayer Book.