Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church


Obituary: Abbot Alan Berndt, OSB, monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey

February 25, 2016

140114_AbbotAlanBerndt_002.jpgAbbot Alan Berndt, OSB, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN, died on February 24, 2016, in the monastery infirmary. He was 95 and a jubilarian of profession.

Surviving is a brother, Richard Berndt, of South Bend.

Abbot Alan was born in South Bend, IN, on March 15, 1920, and was given the name Robert Joseph at his baptism. He completed his elementary education at Saint Matthew Parish in South Bend before studying at Saint Meinrad in the high school, college and seminary.

He was invested in the monastic habit in 1939, professed simple vows as a monk of Saint Meinrad on August 6, 1940, and was ordained to the priesthood on February 2, 1945.

Following ordination he taught algebra and Latin in the minor seminary for one year. He then served for 10 years as a missionary priest at Immaculate Conception Mission in Stephan, South Dakota and 10 years at St. Michael Mission in North Dakota. At that time, Saint Meinrad oversaw four mission communities: two in South Dakota and two in North Dakota.

In 1950, Saint Meinrad founded Blue Cloud Abbey in Marvin, SD. Abbot Alan joined the new community as a founding member. He served as the community's second abbot from 1970 to 1986.

During his governance, the abbey reached its highest membership and carried on a variety of works. A skilled administrator and financial overseer, Abbot Alan was particularly influential and instrumental in the transferring of the ownership and administration of the abbey's mission schools to the Indian people themselves.

After his resignation from the abbatial office in 1986, he began a series of pastoral assignments at local parishes and, from 1990 to 1995, served as chaplain for St. Mary Hospital in Pierre, South Dakota.

In 2012, Blue Cloud Abbey closed and Abbot Alan returned to Saint Meinrad Archabbey.

The Office of the Dead will be prayed at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 26, in the Archabbey Church, followed by visitation until 9 p.m. Visitation on Saturday will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. in the Archabbey Church, followed by the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in the Archabbey Cemetery. All times are Central Time.