Dom Jacques Côté, OSB
Formerly Secretary general of the AIM, Saint-Benoît-du-Lac (Québec)
Dom Patrick Regan
Abbot Patrick Regan was born 18th January, 1938, at New Orleans in the state of Louisiana, USA. After studies in his home town he entered the Benedictine monastery of St Joseph, and made his first profession 21st August 1959, receiving the name Patrick. Then he began his studies for the priesthood 1971 in the Seminary of Notre-Dame and at Loyola University in New Orleans, as well as at St John’s University, directed by the monks of Collegeville in Minnesota. He was ordained priest 3rd June 1965. After his ordination he gained a diploma at the Institut Supérieur de Liturgie of the Institut Catholique at Paris. There he acquired and developed his love of the liturgy and his knowledge of French culture which he kept and enriched throughout his life.
Returning to the United States Fr Patrick taught in the seminary of his own monastery, as he would do until 2001, as well as at Notre-Dame Seminary and St John’s University. He was also occupied by the direction of young people. Elected fourth abbot of his monastery in 1982, he presided at the celebration of the centenary of its foundation and the renovation of the church, which culminated at the dedication in 1996. He became President of the Swiss-American Cassinese Benedictine Congregation, to which his monastery belongs, in 1978, and so remained until 1999.
Every four years the abbots and conventual priors of the Benedictines of the world gather in Rome for a Congress under the presidency of the Abbot Primate in order to get to know one another, have an exchange about problems of the moment and study a theme of spirituality. Abbot Patrick was faithful in his attendance, also as Abbot President of the Congregation. As President he also participated in the annual synods of Presidents held in different parts of the world. He always brought his support and enthusiasm to his brethren, especially at the time of discussions on the Athenaeum of Sant’Anselmo in Rome.
His retirement from the abbacy in 2001 brought changes to his life. The authorities of Sant’Anselmo lost no time in asking for him as Professor in the pontifical institute of liturgy which is part of the Athenaeum. His response came ‘by return of post’, and he was able to contribute to the teaching of liturgy until age forced his retirement.
The return to teaching, this time in Rome, was not without effort. The courses were given in Italian, so that he first took a course in Italian and made the trouble to write out the lectures he intended to give. Above all his affability and his disponibility had a beneficial effect on the students from all nations who attend our liturgy faculty at Sant’Anselmo. What interests us even more is that from 1986 he was a member of the Council of the AIM, and received it with his customary gentleness in his own abbey of St Joseph for the session of 1999. He remained a member of the Council till 2005. He also served the AIM as a member of the Executive Committee. In 1985 at the request of the Secretary-general of the International AIM he was given the task of organising a national Bureau for AIM-USA, of which he remained president until 2001.
Fr Patrick liked to walk alone. Rome, with its monuments and its history, fascinated him and he criss-crossed the city thoroughly. All the same, on these walks he knew how to join the useful with the agreeable. These excurions attracted him for adding to his knowledge. I remember always a wonderful memory of a rich stay which we made together at the Cistercian Abbey of Lerins (France) during Holy Week and the first days of Easter week in 2005. This time the purpose was to live a profound spiritual experience on the occasion of the celebration of the paschal mystery, which he kept always at the centre of his teaching and of his life.