Abbot, Saint Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison, Kansas (1943-1962)
Abbot Cuthbert was the third abbot of Saint Benedict’s Abbey. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and came to Kansas City, Missouri, at the age of 12. He and his brother, John, and sister, Mary were raised by an aunt until Francis (later Cuthbert) came to Saint Benedict’s for his further education. He completed his high school, college and theological studies here and was ordained June 27, 1921. He professed vows as a Benedictine July 2, 1915.
As a monk Abbot Cuthbert taught commercial subjects at Saint Benedict’s High School, attended Gregg Normal School in Chicago to learn accounting, began studies in Greek at the University of Michigan and received a masters in 1932. Parallel to this teaching career he was treasurer of the college until being elected abbot in 1943. He was also Dean of Men from 1940 to 1943.
Abbot Cuthbert led the community in building the Abbey Church and Guesthouse, two student dormitories at the college, and at Maur Hill a new academic building and new gym. Under his leadership as well, the community began Saint Joseph’s Priory, Mineiros, Goias, Brazil.
After retirement he served as assistant chaplain in various hospitals run by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, most recently at Saint Joseph’s, Denver, Colorado. From 1971 to 1979 he was assistant chaplain at Mount Saint Scholastica Convent, Atchison. Beginning in January 1980 he lived at the Abbey where he was fully a part of the life of the community.
Abbot Cuthbert McDonald died March 20, 1991.