Father Christian Carr, second abbot of Mepkin Abbey, dies at 100

MONCKS CORNER—Father Christian Aidan Carr, the second abbot of Mepkin Abbey, died June 5 at the monastery. He was 100.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the abbey church on June 13.

Fr ChristianFather Christian was born on Sept. 14, 1914, in Galveston, Texas, a son of the late Daniel J. and Helen E. Talty Carr.

He entered Mepkin Abbey on Oct. 31, 1969, and was elected abbot in 1977. During his 16 years as abbot, Father Christian expanded the sense of hospitality at Mepkin, helping the monastery transition from a cloistered community to one of welcome. He established the monastic guest program and continued the ecumenical efforts initiated by his predecessor, Father Anthony Chassagne.

On Sept. 11, 1987, then-Abbot Christian was among a small group of religious chosen to welcome Pope John Paul II when he arrived at the Columbia airport during his visit to South Carolina.

On his 75th birthday, as required by the Trappist Constitution, Father Christian submitted his resignation as abbot.

When he was 78, he traveled to Uganda and spent three years serving as chaplain to the Trappistine sisters of Our Lady of Praise Abbey.

Upon his return to Mepkin in 1996, Father Christian served in several roles, including providing spiritual direction to retreatants, leading daily tours to the church, serving as a consultant on matters pertaining to canon law, serving various councils and committees, assisting the guest master, and helping in the kitchen on a daily basis.

In 2007, he was awarded the highest papal honor, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, by Pope Benedict XVI in a liturgical ceremony at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, South Carolina.

Father Christian held many professional positions in his life, including time as a civil lawyer and a church canon lawyer.

Before joining the Trappists, he was a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, for 31 years.

He entered the order of Franciscan Friars in 1938 and was ordained a priest in 1945, spending the next 24 years in that role. During that time, he earned two doctorates, taught dogma and canon law at the Franciscan seminary near Albany, New York, and served as associate editor and then editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review during the important years of the Second Vatican Council.

Father Christian also taught medical ethics, philosophy and theology, and spent time in the field of aeronautical engineering.

He is survived by his nephew Daniel Stacey, and members of the Trappist community.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Mepkin Abbey, 1098 Mepkin Abbey Road, Moncks Corner, SC.


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