Father Dominic Milroy OSB, Benedictine monk of Ampleforth Abbey, died peacefully on 1 January 2019, at the age of 86. He had been a monk for over 67 years, and he was ordained on 17 July 1960, a priest for over 58 years. He served as Headmaster of Ampleforth College from 1980-1992.
He was born in Swanage on 18 April 1932 and was educated at Ampleforth College. He then joined the monastic community in October 1950 and attended Saint Benet’s Hall at the University of Oxford (1953-1957), where he read Modern Languages. His initial work at Ampleforth College spanned the years from 1957-1974 and encompassed a variety of roles, including: Director of Theatre, Head of Modern Languages, and Housemaster of Saint Wilfrid’s House. Father Dominic returned to work in the school on 1 January 1980, when he was appointed Headmaster of Ampleforth College, a post he held until 31 December 1992. While Headmaster, he was elected Chairman of the Conference of Catholic Secondary Schools and Colleges; he was also a member of the National Forum of the Catholic Education Service, and Chairman and then Vice-Chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. From 1997-2010, he was Chairman of Governors at Saint Benedict’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Ampleforth. From 2008-2012, he also undertook the role of chaplain to Saint Aidan’s House.
In 1981, Father Dominic as Headmaster welcomed to Ampleforth José Manuel Eguiguren, a married layman and founder of a lay movement in Chile, the Manquehue Apostolic Movement (Father Dominic’s own grandmother was Chilean). He was visiting Ampleforth to learn about Benedictine education. In the Rule of Saint Benedict and in the monastic community, Father Dominic found inspiration not only for his new school in Chile, but for the whole lay community. This link with the Manquehue Apostolic Movement has resulted in more than 100 Ampleforth students spending a gap year working in Chile and, more recently, members of the lay movement working in Downside and Ampleforth Abbeys.
During the course of his monastic life, Father Dominic held a number of posts serving both the Church and the Benedictine world beyond Ampleforth. From 1970-1974, he was a member of the Bishops’ Secretariat for non-believers; from 1974-1979, he served as Prior of Collegio Sant’Anselmo in Rome; from 1993-2008, Father Dominic was a member of the Chevtogne Group, an informal group of European monastic superiors established in the 1990s to examine the interface between European institutions and the monastic tradition; and from 1996-2009, he served as a regular member of the Conference to the Congress of Abbots.
In the area of ecumenism, Father Dominic was appointed in 1993 as Cathedral Prior of Chester Cathedral, a title dating from pre-Reformation times, when Benedictines formed the chapters of nine of the cathedrals of England. Although today such titles carry no jurisdiction, they traditionally have been bestowed on Benedictine monks since 1633.
Father Dominic was a popular retreat giver both to other religious houses around the world, and to dioceses in the United Kingdom. He also wrote numerous articles and contributions for a wide variety of books, and from 2009-2017 was editor of The Ampleforth Journal.
Father Dominic’s health declined in recent years, and he resided in the Monastery Infirmary at Ampleforth. He died peacefully at York Hospital on 1 January 2019. Father Dominic’s body was received into the Abbey Church at Ampleforth on Thursday 10 January 2019 at 6 p.m. His funeral Mass was celebrated at 11.30 a.m. in the Abbey Church on Friday 11 January 2019, followed by burial in the Monks’ Wood.
At a future date, a memorial Mass will be celebrated in London to provide the opportunity for those unable to get to Ampleforth to gather in remembrance of Father Dominic. For further information, please contact: Liam Kelly (Tel. +44 1439 766710 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org ).