Br. Gregory Benavidez, OSB, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon, U.S.A., died accidentally on the 27th day of October, 2023. He was 43 years of age and had been professed as a monk for 13 years.
He was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1980, the youngest of nine children, and was baptized with the name Joshua. His family later embraced another religious faith, and after moving around the southeastern states and Mexico, Joshua’s family settled in Salem, Oregon, in 1993.
He graduated from high school in 1999 and found employment in a restaurant and in his brother’s construction business, but his main focus was on the care of his ailing mother. Her death in 2002 grieved Joshua deeply.
In 2006, feeling a call to return to his Catholic roots, he entered the RCIA program at St. Joseph’s Parish in Salem. In the process he came to love the Church’s liturgy and began to study the lives of the saints, and in due course he received the sacraments of reconciliation, confirmation and Eucharist.
Joshua began to explore monasticism and attended discernment retreats at Mount Angel Abbey in 2008. He entered the Abbey in the following year and made his profession as a monk in 2010. As the first one to make profession under the newly elected Abbot Gregory, he received the abbot’s name of Gregory.
Br. Gregory’s love for the liturgy endured; he often served at the community liturgy and trained others, and he was the usual crosier bearer at pontifical Masses. For a number of years he served as head sacristan. Br. Gregory also loved serving in the guesthouse, and he was, in turn, much loved by the staff and the guests. He was a big man, with a very tender heart…
— Abbot Jeremy Driscoll & Community, Mount Angel Abbey