As the community liturgy began on July 23, 2018, word was received that Fr. Basil Mattingly, O.S.B. had passed away in his 97th year at the Veterans Hospital in San Diego. With him at his passing was his ever-faithful caregiver, David Koch. David had just prayed the rosary and was on the last bead, when Father Basil looked up at him and gave up his spirit.
Fr. Basil was born in Indianapolis, lndiana on January 21, 1921 to Thomas Ryan Mattingly and Henrietta Theresa Schnell, the fourth son of eight. He was baptized at Holy Cross Church in Indianapolis on January 23, 1921. He received his First Communion on May 1, 1928 and was confirmed November 17, 1929 at St. Catherine’s Church in Indianapolis.
He was educated at the elementary level at St. Catherine’s Parish from 1927-1935; He attended St. Meinrad Minor Seminary from 1935-1939; and he entered the St. Meinrad Major Seminary from 1939-1946. He attended Notre Dame University from 1948-1950 receiving his Master’s Degree and then again in 1957 where he received his Ph.D.
As a monastic at St. Meinrad, he was invested as a Novice on August 5, 1941 by Fr. Placidus Kempf, O.S.B.; professed Simple Vows, which were conferred on August 6, 1942 by Rt. Rev. Ignatius Esser, O.S.B. and professed Solemn Vows which were conferred on August 6, 1945 by Rt. Rev. Ignatius Esser, O.S.B. He was ordained Deacon on August 26, 1945 by Most Rev. Joseph E. Ritter; and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on June 11, 1946 by the Most Rev. Joseph E. Ritter.
His assignments in his monastic life were quite varied and drew upon his vast knowledge and educational background. He was always the teacher (professor) and was always direct and bold in his presentation. At St. Meinrad he taught Philosophy from 1946-7; after an interval at Notre Dame, he once again taught philosophy at St. Meinrad College; He taught Greek from 1951-1952; From 1957-1962, he was in the United States Army -101st Airborne (Ft. Campbell) — Puan Area Command Chaplin in Korea and he was stationed with the 82nd Airborne at Ft. Bragg. He was involved with the Marian Mission in the Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee from 1970 – 1986; He was a pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in South Pittsburg, Tennessee in 1982, where under his direction, the Benedictine Monks built a shrine in honor of Our Lady of Banneux.
He was assigned as Head of the Philosophy Department in Liberia, West Africa from 1986 – 1989; While in Suakoko, Liberia he was Vice Rector/ Academic Dean/ Professor of Moral Theology/ taught Latin; and was instructor in Philosophy at Cuttington University, Suakoko, Libera.
He transferred to Prince of Peace Abbey in 1989 — he began his canonical year in 1991 and his stability was transferred on May 29, 1992. While at Prince of Peace Abbey, he was instructor in the formation program; Director of Secular Oblates 1991-1992; Director of Vocations 1991-1992; Master of Novices, August 1992-1994; and Prior from August 1994 until 2000.
As his health began to decline, he still was active in teaching. He was teaching one of the Oblates, Latin. He was a good confessor to many of the monks and a good spiritual director as well. He endeared himself to many individuals who came to the monastery to hear his well-thought out homilies, which could be a bit lengthy.
With the assistance of his care-giver, David Koch, he often would visit the abbey church and pray at the Blessed Sacrament chapel and then sing the Salve Regina at Our Lady’s shrine. He was happy to receive requests for prayers from the monks as well as from the general public. He was given the name, “Prayer Warrior.”
He was predeceased by his parents, his brothers: Thomas, Albert (Brother Edwin CSC), Edward, Charles, Kevin, Richard and Paul. We know of one nephew, Mark, who has tried to keep in contact with him through these later years.
There will be a wake service on Monday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Abbey Church and the Funeral Mass at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31 in the Abbey Church. Burial will follow in the Abbey Cemetery.
Our deceased confrere is recommended for the customary suffrages offered by the monks of our Congregation.
May he rest in peace.
Abbot Sharbel Ewen and Community
Prince of Peace Abbey