Father Peregrin Berres OSB, was killed in a single vehicle accident last Friday, April 16, near Minneapolis. He was 68.
He was born Jerome Berres, taking the name .Peregrin upon entering the priesthood. He has been associated with SJU in several positions since 1973. He entered the university as a student and decided to enter the monastery in 1950, at the young age of 20. He admitted his initial view of monastic life was one of “dark and damp walls inhabited by men who were somehow out of this world.”
For eight years he taught Latin and general science courses at St. Augustine’s College in Nassau, Bahamas. He also served as associate pastor for churches in Nassau, Hastings, Detroit Lakes, and St. Cloud over the course of several years. He was chaplain for three years in the U.S. army and saw active duty with a helicopter unit in Vietnam.
He later taught religion at Benilde high school in St. Louis Park before returning to St. John’s to assume the position of media director. For an overall period of twelve years, he served as a faculty resident in campus housing, allowing for direct contact with many students. Since 1988 Berres was the special project coordinator of the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library (HMML).
Berres was on his way to visit a sister and a brother in St. Paul when he lost control of his car on Interstate Hwy. 94 at the 1-694 exit. The car left the road and struck a bridge pillar. The state patrol is still investigating whether another car cut him off and forced him off the road.
He will be remembered by many for the spirit that he brought to all of his life’s work. In a quote from his book “In Retrospect,” Berres says, “I expected monastic life would be a tough life and prepared to give myself fully. Perhaps I was over eager at first for I occasionally found myself slightly disappointed with the easiness of the life. But as time went on I found that I was looking for big things to do and in this overlooking many smaller but important things that make for perfection. I have found the less spectacular is rougher than I had anticipated. The little things often seem too common to make a saint, but they are what put the Little Flower where she is.”
The Record – April 22, 1999