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Bro. David Downey, O.S.B.
Published January 11, 2008
© Shawnee News Star
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Bro. David Downey, O.S.B.

Brother David James "Larry" Downey, O.S.B., a monk of St. Gregory's Abbey, Shawnee, Oklahoma, died on Wednesday, January 9, 2008, strengthened by prayer and the presence of members of his family and monastic community. He was 67 years old.

Bro. David was born on October 16, 1940, in Dodge City, Kansas, to Michael and Nellie O'Keefe Downey. He had five brothers and six sisters. He graduated from Windthorst High School, in Spearville, Kansas in 1958.

He became a postulant at Holy Cross Abbey, Canon City, Colo., in 1959, and began the novitiate in 1962. He made monastic profession on July 11, 1963, and final perpetual vows on July 11, 1966.

He served Holy Cross Abbey in many ways: as director of the farm, as prefect in the dorms of the Holy Cross Abbey School and director of the horse program for the school and the summer camp, as manager of the student dining room for the school, and at various times as Novice Master, Director of Postulants, Subprior, and Business Manager.

When the Abbey School closed in 1985, Bro. David continued to serve as alumni coordinator. He then became active in prison ministry in both the Federal prisons in Florence and at some of the Colorado State prisons in Canon City.

Bro. David's college work included study at St. Thomas Seminary, Denver; St. Bernard's College, Alabama; and St. Benedict's College, Kansas. He completed a B. A. in Social Science from the University of Southern Colorado. He was a certified Instructor of Horsemanship from Ranchland in Dallas, Texas. Bro. David was extremely popular among the students and friends of Holy Cross Academy, serving as a mentor to many. Numerous Academy alumni have traveled to St. Gregory's over the last two years to visit with their friend, Bro. David.

Holy Cross Abbey began to close its doors in 2004 and members of the community sought transfer to a number of other monasteries. Bro. David and Bro. Matthew Bach came to St. Gregory's Abbey attracted in part by the opportunity for continued work with horses and the ministry of therapeutic riding. They promised their stability here on September 3, 2006.

Since coming to St. Gregory's, Bro. David was a faithful and active member of the community. He put his training and long experience with horses to work at the stables at St. Gregory's, assisting with the therapeutic horseback riding program. He quickly became highly regarded and beloved by members of the extended community of St. Gregory's.

Bro. David was diagnosed with gastro-esophageal cancer last March. He battled the disease with courage and faith. After he learned in December that his cancer had metastasized, he embraced God's will for his life.

The monks at St. Gregory's are very grateful to members of Bro. David's Family, the Abbey Health Care Staff, and Heartland Hospice for making it possible for Bro. David to remain at the monastery until his death.

Bro. David is survived by the members of the monastic community of St. Gregory's Abbey and the former members of Holy Cross Abbey; his sisters, Mrs. Norma Jean Weeks, Mrs. Kathleen Konda, and Miss Doris Downey; his brothers, Timothy and Jerry Downey; and sister-in-laws Leola Downey and Elaine Downey and brother-in-law Dwight Thompson, many nieces and nephews, and a wide network of former students and friends.

He is predeceased by his parents; brothers, Michael Downey Jr., Rev. Pat Downey, and Tom Downey; and sisters, Helen Orth, Mrs. LoraAnn Thompson, and Edith Downey.

Vigils of the Office of the Dead for Br. David will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, in the St. Gregory's Abbey Church, Shawnee.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, January 14, at 10 a.m. in the Abbey Church with Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, O.S.B., as the principal celebrant.

Interment will follow in the St. Gregory's Abbey Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the building fund at St. Gregory's Abbey, 1900 W. MacArthur Drive, Shawnee, Oklahoma 74804.



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