Two men and a Dominican monastery given honorary doctorates by St. Mark’s College
By Alistair Burns
The B.C. Catholic
St. Mark’s College has granted three recipients honorary doctorates. Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, bestowed the honours May 20 at St. Mark’s College’s annual convocation on Father Augustine Kalberer, OSB (posthumously); the Queen of Peace Monastery, and Chuck Luttrell, the Archbishop’s Delegate for Faith Formation.
“We come to celebrate the good news and infusion of deepening faith,” said Father Mark Hagemoen, the principal of St. Mark’s College.
Nesya Finnie, chairwoman of St. Mark’s board, pointed out that none of the recipients had come from British Columbia. She thanked the Church for the missionaries from afar who had helped deepen the faith life of Catholics in three separate areas.
“I would like to express my gratitude, since by honouring Father Augustine Kalberer of the Benedictines, and the Dominican Nuns, we can point to two essential dimensions of Catholic higher education: prayer and study,” Archbishop Miller began.
He recalled that in the early Middle Ages Benedictine monasteries were some of the only places where the treasures of ancient culture survived. The monks wanted to “concentrate on the essential, the perennially valid, life itself. They were searching for God; the path was His Word, revealed to mankind in the books of Sacred Scripture.”
Father Augustine Kalberer, OSB (1917-2008), spent most of his life, 53 years, as the Subprior of Westminster Abbey. He spearheaded the process to take the Seminary of Christ the King to university charter status.
Born in Portland, Ore., Father Kalberer came from tough farming stock. Brought up on a dairy farm, he kept physically active into his 80s by pitching hay.
He entered the Benedictine novitiate in the U.S. in 1936 and the following year, made his profession of vows. In 1942, after ordination, he went to Westminster Priory in Burnaby.
He completed his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1946; taught Latin at Christ the King until the age of 88, and wrote three editions of his book, Lives of the Saints.
Father Mark Dumont, OSB, spoke about his deceased friend. “He was very humble; he wouldn’t have put too much into this ceremony. He didn’t seek any honours, and remember metaphysics, his area of study, isn’t everyone’s bag. He was a fine gentleman and a scholar.”
The archbishop also expressed his appreciation for the Dominican Contemplative Nuns, represented at the convocation by Sister Claire Marie Rolf, OP, Prioress of Queen of Peace Monastery.
The Dominicans “affirmed the natural friendship that exists between faith and reason. Faith is open to the effort of understanding by reason; reason, in turn, recognizes that faith does not control its insights but impels it towards vaster and loftier horizons. This is the great contribution of the Dominican tradition,” said Archbishop Miller.
Chuck Luttrell was recognized for his contribution to the advancement of education in the archdiocese. Among other postings, he has been the principal of three high schools and has been awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Benedict XVI for outstanding service.
“Going back to my start in 1966, the success of education in this diocese can be contributed to one phrase: good Catholics, good schools. Simple, profound,” he declared.
“This degree is awesome; what I would call the fruits of the labour. I’m accepting it on behalf of the thousands of Catholic educators out there.”
Luttrell strongly encouraged current students to consider teaching as a career choice. “During the 1940s to the 60s, the youth received a foundation of faith from their parents.
Now, with some parents’ faith on the wane, we have to create new mentors and teachers, and build the Church up as an extended family.”