On Thursday morning, 13 December 13, 2018, Père Gilbert Combes OSB went to meet his Lord. He was 94 years old, born in Millau (Aveyron), France on 30 October 1924, professing monastic vows at En Calcat on 8 September 1945 and being ordained a priest on 19 May 1951.
Père Gilbert was one of the last “missionary monks” of the En Calcat community. He entered En Calcat at the age of 20 and was sent to Toumliline (Morocco) eight years later at the time of its founding in 1952. He remained there until its closing in 1968, known as a passionate teacher who was very attached to the young Moroccans of Azrou and the region to which he opened worlds of knowledge. Many of them in return have shared with him an indelible friendship, recognizing the deep personal impact he made on their lives. After the closure of Toumliline, Père Gilbert remained as a teacher in Morocco and went to the monastery of Koubri, in Burkina Faso, where he gave 40 of the best years of his life, founding 30 schools in the surrounding villages. For a long time, he was known as a creator of the local community.
In June 2014, at almost 90 years old, he came to En Calcat with Prior Jean Christophe, allowing himself to be persuaded – but not without hesitation and scruples – to remain at En Calcat for reasons of health. He had left his heart in Koubri, but he remained fraternal and courageous and present to the community as encountered 60 years later.
The funeral mass for Père Gilbert Combes OSB was celebrated on Saturday, 15 December at 14.30, at the Abbaye Saint Benoît d’En Calcat. We recommend him to the prayers of the Benedictine Confederation.