|Birth: ||Mar. 28, 1900|
|Death: ||Dec. 10, 1966|
The initial and deepest impression Br. Joachim left on me when first visiting New Melleray in 1947, was that of meeting Jesus in him. As Guest House Porter since 1934, he was usually the first one to greet guests and was on hand when they left. He also served meals and read a spiritual book during part of the meals. His selections were edifying and uplifting from such classics as "The Imitation Of Christ" and "True Devotion To The Blessed Virgin Mary". Br. Joachim was richly gifted with a jovial personality and a marvelous spirit of hospitality which made him famous all over the country with the tourists who stopped in. He manifested a great love for Jesus and Mary and imparted this to others. He served and assisted at as many Masses as he could, and frequently prayed the rosary both privately and with guests. He drove himself to exhaustion. A neighbor, Harold Connolly, remembers him falling asleep while kneeling unsupported on the floor in church.
The monastic vocation of Br. Joachim was well prepared for since his youth. He was born a twin March 28, 1900, in the Dublin suburb of Upper Leeson Street. His twin sister, Marie, and younger brother Peter were very helpful in supplying information about his youth. He was named Leo at baptism in honor of Pope Leo XIII. Years later as Br. Joachim he was happy to find out that Pope Leo XIII's baptismal name was Joachim. He commenced school with the Dominican Sisters at Dunleary and then went to the Presentation Brothers at Glasthule.
From a very early age he was spiritually motivated and while he never preached religion it was obvious that he was trying to practice the virtue of charity. He was always cheerful, good humored and had a great love for children. Following his father's sudden death on the eve of Corpus Christi in 1919 he had a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He then went to the Franciscan Brothers Agricultural College in Mount Bellow, Co. Galway for two years. He completed his studies in Dublin.
During these days the political situation in Ireland was tense. Civil war followed the evacuation of British forces. It was during this period that Leo was a student in Albert College. As his sympathies lay with Eamon De Valera's Republican Party he participated in the struggle. Having come through safely he returned to his studies.
During all these years he never abandoned the idea of devoting his life to God. He wrote his mother of his desire to study for the Priesthood and to work for the mission in Uganda. Four years had elapsed since his school days. He then entered Mount Melleray College to study Latin. At the end of the course he was received into the Abbey to become a Monk. On August 12th, 1926, the day before he entered, he wrote the following :
"My dearest Mother ... although I am looking forward with no small amount of eagerness and excitement for tomorrow when poor me, unworthy though I be, am to enter the novitiate of the Great St. Bernard's Order, I should be unhuman and ungrateful were I not to feel the parting. Yet why should I say parting for really Mother entering Melleray is no parting. Yes! Please God, Melleray will be to me a home, a true home where we will be the more united than ever by a spiritual bond and where I will do more for each of you...than ever I could accomplish in the outside world ... Now let you be assured how happy I feel in my choice. Only pray, pray hard that I may co-operate with all the goodness and graces of Our Divine Lord and so become inflamed with a burning love for Him."
He was happy there but after about a year the Novice Master told him he was not suitable. So he left in resignation to God's will. The period that followed must have been a particularly hard one for him. He never complained and went about quite cheerfully, occupying himself with social work at "The Morning Star", a hospital for the poor administered by The Legion of Mary. He always admired and tried to promote the Legion.
After about two years at home the final decision came. Leo was called to Mount St. Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, to meet Abbot Bruno Ryan of New Melleray. The Abbot was visiting Ireland in 1929 in search of vocations. As a result Leo set out for New Melleray that November, eager to become a Lay Brother. Others who came with him were Br. Ailbe Collins and Br. Declan Ahern from Mount Melleray, Br. Cronan Brown from Mount St. Joseph and three laymen who came as Postulants but didn't persevere. Fr. Eugene Martin, who later became abbot, Walter Walsh and Bill Burns met them at the train in Dubuque on December 5. There was two feet of snow on the ground. At 10 pm., they arrived at New Melleray where Br. Anthony Toohey met them at the door. Leo entered the monastic enclosure December 12, received the Novice's Habit June 22, 1930, from Dom Bruno Ryan, made his Temporary Profession on June 29, 1932, and took his Solemn Vows on June 25, 1955.
Br. Joachim's health failed considerably the last two years of his holy life. Yet he remained cheerful and an inspiration to us to the end. He died of a blood clot in the hospital on December 10, 1966. Seven hundred people came to his wake and one hundred and fifty to his funeral which was presided over by Most Rev. James J. Byrne, Archbishop of Dubuque.
Note : This Biography Was Compiled By Father Kenneth Tietjen OCSO.
New Melleray Abbey Cemetery
Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Oct 03, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59549597
Rest In Peace, Beloved Brother Joachim!|
Added: Nov. 17, 2012
Rest in peace, Brother. Pray for us here on earth.|
Added: Feb. 19, 2011