Timeline & Quotes: Timothy Kelly


April 20, 1934 – Thomas Daniel Kelly born in Milwaukee, WI

Grades 1 – 6: Public Schools in Minneapolis, MN
Grades 7 & 8: Annunciation Parish School in Minneapolis, MN
High School: St. Thomas Military Academy in St. Paul, MN
College: St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN

1954: Enters novitiate at St. John’s Abbey

July 11, 1955: Professes simple vows to Saint John’s Abbey Monastic Community

May 30, 1957: Earns degree in philosophy from St. John’s University

July 11, 1958: Professes solemn vows to Saint John’s Abbey Monastic Community

June 3, 1961: Ordained as Father Timothy Kelly

June 4, 1961: First mass at Church of the Visitation in Minneapolis, MN

1961-1962: Freshman English professor at Saint John’s University; Prefect in Saint Anselm’s Hall

1962-1963: Theology teacher at Colegio del Tepeyac (Mexico)

1962-1963: Studies at Mexicano-Norteamericano Instituto Relaciones Culturales in Mexico City

1963-1964: English teacher at Saint Augustine’s College (Bahamas)

1964-1970: Associate pastor at Saint Anselm’s Church in the Bronx, New York

1970-1972: Pastor at Saint Anselm’s Church in the Bronx, New York

1972-1978: Chaplain for the Benedictine sisters at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Crookston, MN

1978-1980: Student at the Monastic Institute of the International Benedictine College of St. Anselm in Rome, Italy

1980-1987: Novice Master at St. John’s Abbey


January, 1989 – December, 1991: Administrator of Mary Help of Christians Abbey (aka Belmont Abbey), in Belmont, NC

June 1, 1992: Named Rector of Saint John’s Seminary

November 26, 1992: Elected as ninth abbot of St. John’s Abbey

May, 2000: Announces resignation as abbot of St. John’s Abbey

2001: Lives at Saint Procopius Abbey in Lisle, Illinois for several months

June 22, 2001: Elected President of the American-Cassinese Congregation

October 7, 2010: Dies of cancer of the esophagus

October 13, 2010: Mass of Christian Burial for Abbot Timothy Kelly

October 17, 2010: Cremated with inurnment in the St. John’s Abbey cemetery


Notable Involvement (Dates Unavailable)

– Master’s degree in divinity from St. John’s University

– Completed graduate studies at the University of Minnesota

– Studied at Mexicano-Norteamericano Instituto Relaciones Culturales in Mexico City

– Advisor and adjunct faculty member of the Academy for Spiritual Formation of the United Methodist Church (UMC)

– Associated with The Upper Room, the publishing agency of UMC located in Nashville, Tennessee.

– Directed the Institute for Religion and Human Development of Saint John’s University

– Taught theology classes at Saint John’s University

– Played a key role in the founding of St. Brigid of Kildare Monastery

– Involved in the support and development of monastic communities in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia and China

– Served on 22 committees of the Collegeville campus and promoted the eventual building of the Abbey Guesthouse.

– Board of Directors for the China Bureau of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

– Founding member of the Benedictine China Commission

– Mandated revival of the Oblate Program

– Chaired Monastic Interreligious Dialogue group

Miscellaneous Dates:

August 6, 1983: Gives speech “Conference on Oblate Spirituality” at Oblate Day 1983.

September, 1986: Invited by the Dalai Lama to visit Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in India

January 10, 1993: Abbot Timothy Kelly’s blessing ceremony, led by Bishop Jerome Hanus, OSB, of St. Cloud.

February 2, 1993: Abbot Timothy Kelly updates Saint John’s Abbey’s policy on sexual abuse.

March 11, 1993: Abbot Timothy Kelly in Seoul, Korea

1993: Abbot Timothy Kelly ordered Fr. Richard Eckroth back to the US (from the Bahamas) for a psychiatric evaluation.

August, 1993: ISTI founded by Dietrich Reinhart and Abbot Timothy Kelly

May, 1994: Abbot Timothy Kelly advised that Fr. Richard Eckroth should not be allowed unsupervised contact with minors.

Spring, 1994: Abbot Timothy Kelly “investigates” misconduct by Father Tom Andert. Andert cleared by Abbot Kelly.

Spring, 1995: Abbot Timothy Kelly appoints Fr. Francisco Schulte and Fr. Allan Tarlton to run Oblates program

1995: Abbot Timothy Kelly excoriates A.W. Richard Sipe for attempting to address St. John’s abuse problems.

February 23, 1996: Timothy Kelly pulls Fr. Thomas Gillespie from St. Joseph Parish, St. Joseph, Minnesota

December 3, 1996: Abbot Timothy Kelly blesses new church bell at Saint John’s Abbey, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary

1999: Abbot Timothy Kelly learns of misconduct by Father Dan Ward. Kelly claims victim is “exaggerating”. Ward cleared by Abbot Kelly.

Quotes from Abbot Timothy Kelly:

February 8, 1993: “Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation by monks are immoral and will not be tolerated within the Saint John’s community … What we have done is to face the issue squarely, answered truthfully and sincerely.”

May 30, 1993: “If we have been wounded, then healing comes only by facing reality, not by “stuffing” our feelings of loss at the people who have left us, or blaming our troubles on greedy lawyers, or isolating complainers so that we don’t have to listen to them.”

August 12, 1993: “We have been part of the problem, a problem that has been present long before the messengers brought us the word that we’ve been caught.”

July, 1993: “Until we can recognize and acknowledge that we have been and still are part of unhealthy systems we will not be able to address the real issues and find the healing that will make not only Saint John’s but the Church and the world a healthier place to live in.”

September 1993: “In talking with a confrere after the conference of August 24 I was happy to hear him say that we as a community seem not to be hiding our head in the sand but putting aside denial and facing this opportunity maturely.”

November 20, 1993: “Abuse and exploitation finally emerge from a failure to value, to appreciate, to recognize not only this or that person, but a failure to know creation as the expression of God’s love for all – animate and inanimate – that it is.”

May 30, 1994: “At times this may bring some discomfort for us, but we can have the courage to go on if we will remember that victims have suffered much discomfort because of sexual abuse and exploitation.”

June, 1994: “It will take much courage and encouragement from the community to address the issues that will emerge in the future and I believe that rather than burying our heads in the sand we are facing some difficult problems with generosity.”

July, 1994: “In their anger and pain victims sometimes strike out at us and make us feel abused in turn. But that is the price we may have to pay for the years when our culture decided that denial of responsibility would somehow be less damaging than facing the truth.”

August 4, 1994: “The revelation of sexual abuse and exploitation has embarrassed us, yes, but it has also revealed to us something of the hurt people are experiencing because of abuse.”

September 20, 1994: “One person said at the LINKUP conference that where there is sexual abuse there is nearly always someone else who knew what was going on and kept silent… Has there been such an enabling environment in some religious communities that in the name of not wanting to get involved allowed unhealthy attitudes to flourish to the detriment eventually not only of the immediate victims but of the wider community as well?”

December 6, 1994: ” Abuse and exploitation is an inhospitable act, and the primary duty then is to repair the damage of inhospitality. Each person must be aware that sinning against another has dimensions of hurt that spread far beyond the individual sinned against and touch with inhospitality even people unknown.”

October 25, 1997: “…we have been victimized by the events ourselves and have had to learn how to deal with the impossible task of undoing the harm done to others, while dealing with our own sense of outrage and wounding done to us by the acts of our own members…”

March 10, 1998: “Self‑love becomes easily the abuse of others over whom we are able to exercise power. It is like rape, or sexual abuse, or any kind of power abuse that would diminish others for the sake of enhancing one’s own self, the antithesis of service, of real love.”

December 21, 1999: “Sexual abuse is not the only abuse of power there is, though it certainly is one of the most traumatic forms. All manipulative exploitation of others for one’s own profit is abuse and rejects the gospel of reconciliation.”

May 30, 2000: “It has been years since we have had media attention on the issue, but that might be because it seems not newsworthy anymore. The issues remain and we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent about them.”

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Topics: Allen Tarlton, Bahamas, Colegio del Tepeyac, Dan Ward, Dietrich Reinhart, Francisco Schulte, ISTI, Jerome Hanus, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, Richard Eckroth, Richard Sipe, Thomas Gillespie, Timothy Kelly, Tom Andert

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