Abbot Bertrand Dolan, O.S.B.

Abbot, Saint Anselm Abbey, Manchester, New Hampshire (1927-1968)

Abbot Bertrand Dolan, O.S.B., was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 9, 1886.

He professed vows as a monk of Saint Mary’s Abbey in Newark, New Jersey on October 18, 1907. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1911.

He served as a lieutenant in the Chaplain’s Corps with the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I. In 1927, Saint Anselm Priory was elevated to an abbey by Pope Pius XI.

Abbot President Ernest Helmstetter, president of the American-Cassinese Congregation, conducted the first abbatial election, and the monks in solemn vows elected Father Bertrand Dolan, O.S.B. as first abbot of Saint Anselm Abbey on October 4, 1927.

As abbot, he sent monks to graduate studies, allowed laymen to join the faculty of the college, reinstitued football, and discontinued the Saint Anselm prep school. He led the college and abbey through the Depression years and a period of low enrollment during World War II. During the war, he allowed the Army Air Corps to conduct a pre-flight cadet program on campus. He discontinued the abbey’s farm after the war.

In 1963, he requested permission from the Vatican for the abbey to elect a coadjutor abbot. This led to the election of Abbot Gerald McCarty, O.S.B.

Abbot Bertrand died on February 7, 1968 after reigning as abbot for more than 40 years. Bertrand Hall, a female residence hall, is named in his honor.