Fr. William


Father William Meninger, o.c.s.o.



FATHER WILLIAM MENINGER, a Trappist monk formally resident in the monastic community of St. Benedict’s Monastery, died in the monastery infirmary of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, on February 14, 2021.

Born William Austin Meninger in Malden, Massachusetts on August 29, 1932, he graduated from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton in 1958, and following ministry as a secular priest in the Diocese of Yakima, Washington entered the Cistercian Order at St. Joseph’s Abbey in 1963. Solemnly professed in 1970, Fr. Meninger served as guest master and retreat master, prior, dean of the junior professed monks, and professor of Sacred Scripture, liturgy and patristics.

In 1974 he organized a program of spirituality studies based on the Cloud of Unknowing, the work of an anonymous 14th century English hermit, which in cooperation with Frs. Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington subsequently developed into the international organization of Contemplative Outreach and a renewal of the traditional method of contemplative prayer drawn from the Catholic Christian tradition.

Fr. Meninger moved to St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass in 1982, where he served the monastic community as prior, novice master, vocations director, and professor of theology and Sacred Scripture.  For three years later in the decade he continued his studies at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. Due to declining health, he returned to St. Joseph’s Abbey in 2018 where until his death he remained active, leading Zoom conferences on contemplative prayer.

With gratitude for friendship and participation in the monastic life, his brothers at St. Benedict’s ask for remembrance of Fr. William in personal prayer.

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