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Cistercian Father Maurice Flood dies at 85

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Cistercian Father Maurice Flood died from a heart attack Aug. 24 at the Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville. A Mass of Christian burial was offered Sept. 4 with the monastery community and his family in attendance. He was buried in the abbey cemetery.

In a statement announcing his death, the abbey noted, “After more than 64 years of monastic life, and one month short of his 86th birthday, Father Maurice could make his own those immortal words of St. Paul: I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

He was born Hugh Edward Flood Oct. 25, 1935, in Lancaster, Ohio, to Ralph and Mary Flood. He had two brothers and a sister. In 1957, he entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Ky., at age 22. While there, he served as a secretary to writer and fellow Trappist Thomas Merton. He made his solemn profession Dec. 8, 1965.

After several years, he moved to the smaller Holy Cross Abbey. He studied at Pope St. John XIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., and was ordained to the priesthood June 23, 1991. From 1999 to 2014, he served as chaplain for the Cistercian nuns at Redwoods Monastery in Whitehorn, Calif. He returned to Holy Cross due to increasing health problems.

Though the monks live much of their life in silence, Father Maurice did speak about being prepared for death, said Brother Efrain Sosa. “Of late he would talk a lot about death, of being freed. ‘I’m not afraid of death, I’ve never been,’ he said. ‘I welcome her.’ Like St. Francis of Assisi, he would call her Sister Death,” said Brother Efrain. “He was a simple Trappist.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021