Fr. Michael Murray O.S.B., passed away December 14, 2019.
Donald James Murray was born on September 20, 1936 in Denver, Colorado. He attended Blessed Sacrament grade school graduating in 1950. That fall he came to the Abbey High School graduating in May of 1954. In January 1955 he joined the Benedictine community and began his long career as a Monk. He took Michael as his religious name which everyone knew him by. He loved working with his hands and worked on many projects utilizing his various skills. In the late 50’s the main Monastery building was sinking due to the high water table. They needed to drive pylons down to bedrock to stabilize the structure. They were at a loss how to do it but Michael designed a system to hydraulically drive 8’ sections of 12” diameter pipe down and then connect a another section until it hit bedrock. It worked saving the community hundreds of thousands of dollars. When the St. Mary’s class room was built he was involved in every aspect and spent countless hours welding steel sections together that became the roof. Michael was a very talented artist. He designed many pieces of art that can be seen on the Abbey campus and at various churches in southern Colorado.
For many years he was the business manager and became involved in the Canon City business community and served as President of the Chamber of Commerce. Obviously a first for a Monk!
In 1977 Michael was given permission to begin studying for the Priesthood. He attended the John the 23rd Seminary in Weston, Mass. After completion he was ordained at the Abbey in 1981.
His first assignment we at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Boulder, Colo. After 3 years he returned to southern Colorado and was appointed pastor of St. Benedicks Parish in Florence where he served for 14 years. During those years he also was the administrator of the Abbey as they worked to begin the process of closing. After leaving ST. Benedict’s he moved to Trinity Ranch property that the Benedictines owned. This allowed him to work on many artistic projects which are found in many Churches in southern Colorado. Michaels health began to fail and he had several serious back surgeries and long rehab work that eventually put him in the Progressive Care Center here in Canon City. He is survived by his Sister Beverly Bennett, Brother John and numerous nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.
Solemn Vespers at 5:30PM Thursday, December 19, 2019 at St Michael Catholic Church, Mass of Christian Burial 9:00AM Friday December 20, 2019 at St. Michaels Catholic Church. Interment to follow at Holy Cross Abbey Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers please make donation to ATTN: Fr. Maurice, St. Benedict's Abbey, 1020 N. 2nd Street, Atchison, Kansas 66002
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