Photo and text courtesy of Saint John’s Abbey
Richard Arthur Bouley was the second oldest of six children born to Richard and Agnes (Payette) Bouley of Anoka, Minnesota, on April 22, 1936. His father managed a grocery store. Shortly after Richard and his twin sister were born, his mother died, and an aunt (Emma Bouley) left her job and helped raise the family. He attended Saint Stephen’s Parochial School and at the conclusion of eighth grade, a classmate told Richard that he was attending Saint John’s Preparatory School. Richard received his father’s approval to enroll and moved to Collegeville in the fall of 1950.
Father Eric Buermann, OSB (1919-2013) served as a spiritual mentor for Richard and encouraged him to consider the priesthood. After graduating from the Prep School in 1954, Richard enrolled in Saint John’s University as a priesthood student in Saint Anselm Hall. In July of 1956, along with seventeen other young men, Richard entered the novitiate of Saint John’s Abbey and took the name Allan. The following July 11 he made his simple vows and continued his undergraduate studies, earning a B.A. in philosophy in 1959. Continuing his seminary studies, Father Allan was ordained to the priesthood on September 15, 1962.
In an interview in 2013 Father Allan recalled: “Abbot Baldwin Dworshak, OSB (1906-1996), told me, ‘Whether you like it or not, you are going to Sant’ Anselmo (Rome) to study moral theology.’ However, the faculty of Saint John’s Seminary thought that I should study liturgy instead, and Abbot Baldwin agreed.” Father Allan received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) in 1966 and began studies for his S.T.D. (Doctor of Sacred Theology). Father Allan concentrated in Liturgical Studies which was a new program at the time. Shortly after he got back from Rome he was sent to Saint Procopius for a year to teach dogmatic theology in their seminary.
Returning to Collegeville in 1969 to write his dissertation, Father Allan was put to work teaching in the School of Theology and was asked to lead a committee reforming the monastic Divine Office into the vernacular. He realized that it had been a mistake to return to Saint John’s and write his dissertation. Father Allan took up residence at Sacred Heart Church in Freeport, Minnesota, to finish his dissertation, “From Freedom to Formula: The Evolution of the Eucharistic Prayer from Oral Improvisation to Written Texts.”
Father Allan found the first years teaching to be difficult: “With all the new liturgical documents coming out of Rome and the change into the vernacular, it caused a great deal of uproar in seminaries. I developed a course called ‘Pastoral Liturgy’ to help the seminarians become good presiders. That was a huge challenge because nothing I studied in Rome gave me any preparation for this. Everyone thought they were a liturgy expert, so it was really like herding cats to get things done!” Allan became a skilled mentor for generations of seminarians in learning how to be prayerfully present as a presider.
In later years, he began a course on Monastic Liturgy as part of the M.A. program in Monastic Studies. “That was a fun course because it was mainly taken by monastics from various communities and we would have discussions on how things were being done at their respective religious houses.”
In his long career as Professor of Liturgical Studies (1969-2008), Father Allan also served as Liturgy Director for Saint John’s Abbey (1970-1976; 1978-1982) and a member of the Liturgy of the Hours Revision Committee, 1984-1987. He was an advisor to the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy (1976-1978) and a charter member of the North American Academy of Liturgy. Father Allan also was an exchange professor for Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, in 1973 and taught a liturgy course at Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.), 1985-1986. For 25 years he was a skilled associate editor for Worship Magazine
Father Allan wrote many articles, presented lectures, workshops and conferences, and collaborated with co-authors on numerous liturgical topics. He compiled and edited Catholic Rites Today: Abridged Texts for Students (1992). The Collegeville community and all those who pray with us are beneficiaries of Father Allan’s steady, low-key leadership and sensibility that has shaped the way our monastic prayer looks and feels.
Father Allan died on his birthday, April 22, 2023, in the Saint Cloud Hospital. He is survived by his brother Charles, his sister Karen (Ted Kaden), a brother-in-law Abraham Hernandez, and many nephews and nieces, in addition to the community at Saint John’s Abbey.
The monks, family, and friends will receive the body on Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 p.m. and celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for Father Allan on Thursday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m. in Saint John’s Abbey and University Church, with interment in the abbey cemetery.
We ask each community member to offer two Masses according to the manner of his participation in the priesthood of Christ. We commend our brother, Allan, to your prayers.
Abbot John Klassen OSB
and the monks of Saint John’s Abbey