Father Sebastian Leonard, OSB, 88, a monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, Indiana (USA), died on 21 September 2019, at the monastery. He was a jubilarian both of profession and priesthood.
He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on 4 September 1931. Father Sebastian entered Saint Meinrad minor seminary in 1944. He was invested as a novice on 31 July 1951 and professed his simple vows on 1 August 1952, with solemn vows on 8 September 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on 3 May 1957.
Father Sebastian received a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC in 1958. Appointed choirmaster for the monastic community, a position he held for four years, he also began teaching history at Saint Meinrad College and the Saint Meinrad School of Theology.
He earned a Master of Arts degree in Modern European History at Georgetown University in 1962. He then studied at Oxford University, where in 1968 he was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Modern History.
In 1971, he was appointed an associate dean of students in the School of Theology and director of Conley Hall. He taught history in Saint Meinrad College until 1976 and in the School of Theology until 1983.
In 1983, Father Sebastian was assigned as associate pastor at St. David Church in Davie, Florida (USA), where he served for 11 years. He returned to Saint Meinrad in 1994, and the following year he took an assignment as chaplain and professor at Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. He served there for the next 20 years, becoming the longest serving chaplain in the school’s history.
Since 2015, he had resided in the monastery infirmary.
Father Sebastian was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Ellen Falvey, Winifred Strack and Sister Delia Leonard SP; his brothers, James, Joseph and William F.; a niece, Maureen Reeser; nephew, Vincent Maxwell; and cousin, Mary Agnes Spellman. He is survived by a sister, Margaret Maxwell (and husband John); sister-in-law, Patricia Leonard; and nieces and nephews.
The Office of the Dead was prayed at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 24 September 2019, in the Archabbey Church, followed by visitation until 9.00 p.m. Visitation on Wednesday 25 September was from 8 to 9:45 a.m. in the Archabbey Church, followed by the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. and interment in the Archabbey Cemetery.
We commend the peaceful repose of Father Sebastian Leonard OSB to the prayers of the Benedictine Confederation.