Father Simeon Daly, OSB - Finding Grace in the Moment: Stories and other Musings of an Aged Monk


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Father Simeon Daly, OSB

Fr. Simeon Daly, OSB, age 90, monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, died in the monastery infirmary on November 10, 2012. He was a jubilarian in profession and priesthood, and a participant in the Rush Religious Study on Aging and Alzheimer's.

Fr. Simeon was born in Detroit, MI, on May 9, 1922, to Philip and Marguerite (Ginzel) Daly, and received the name Philip John at his baptism. After his elementary education in Monroe, MI, he enrolled in the minor seminary at Saint Meinrad. Invested as a novice in 1943, he professed his simple vows on August 10, 1944, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 18, 1948.

Fr. Simeon was appointed assistant librarian in the Archabbey Library in 1949, and that year received an STL degree from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. Two years later, he received from that university a Master of Science degree in library science. On August 16, 1951, he was appointed head librarian, a position he would hold for the next 49 years.

Throughout his 51 years in the library, Fr. Simeon was a member of virtually every library association connected with the Church, seminary education and the Midwest. Among these was the American Theological Library Association, for whom he served as president from 1979 to 1981.

Fr. Simeon was instrumental in the planning of Saint Meinrad's new library, dedicated in 1982. Having already managed the library for over 30 years, he devoted the next 20 to introducing and integrating new technologies into the library's holdings and procedures.

The history of Saint Meinrad Archabbey will identify Fr. Simeon most closely with his work in the library, but neither his contributions nor his interests ended there. He served as the monastery's Master of Liturgical Ceremonies during the challenging 10-year period preceding, during and following the Second Vatican Council.

He was chair or a member of the monastery's Liturgical Committee for many years, and served as subprior (third in leadership) from 1975 to 1978. He contributed to the monastery's music with his clarinet, and was delighted that, at the age of 90, he made a cameo appearance on Facebook - a five-minute video posted by Saint Meinrad's summer "One Bread, One Cup" participants, who applauded loud and long when he displayed his still-under-development keyboard skills with a sincere rendition of "Someone was There."

Always having a personal project to attend to, Fr. Simeon had recently completed charting the graves of his almost-300 confreres in the monastery's cemetery.

Convinced he had learned valuable lessons in his seven decades as monk and priest, he was determined that others benefit from his experience. His Finding Grace in the Moment: Stories and Other Musings of an Aged Monk was published in 2005, and he narrated much of its content onto a set of three audio CDs. Those stories are now on this website.

He wrote several pieces on aging for the various Notes series of the Abbey Press, including "Aging Gracefully to Make Dying Worthwhile." Most recently, he assisted with writing projects in the Development Office.

The funeral liturgy was held on November 14, in the Archabbey Church, followed by burial in the Archabbey Cemetery.