Passing of Dom John Eudes Bamberger

headshot of bearded monk Dom John Eudes smiling

Father John Eudes was born August 24, 1926, in Litonia, Kentucky, the son of Joseph Fredrick and Dorothy O’Donovan Bamberger. He entered the US Navy at age of 17 and served in WWII, after which he became a medical doctor at a young age.  He entered Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky, in 1950, having read and been influenced by Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain while in the Navy.  Merton was his Novice Director.  He made his solemn profession in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1956.  Later Gethsemani sent Fr. John Eudes to become a trained psychologist, a skill he practiced as a member of Abbey’s the vocation screening team.  He was elected the Secretary of the Consilium Generale in 1969, an office he held until 1971 when he was elected the fourth abbot of Our Lady of the Genesee. He served the community as its abbot for 30 years.  It was during his abbacy that Henri Nouwen wrote his well known book, The Genesee Diary.  On August 24, 2001, Fr. John Eudes celebrated his 75th birthday. In accord with the Constitutions of the Order, he submitted his letter of resignation to the Abbot General.

After his retirement, he was named Superior ad nutum of Our Lady of the Philippines Abbey, Guimaras Island, Philippines, which he served from 2001 until 2002. He also served as Editor of Cistercian Publications. After returning to Genessee Dom John Eudes lived the life of a hermit at the monastery while continuing to teach and work in the community and minister as a spiritual director. As his health needs increased, he took up residence in the abbey infirmary. He regularly participated in community prayer and liturgy.

Dom John Eudes passed away on Friday, February 21, 2020.  His Funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at 10 AM, followed by internment in the abbey cemetery.

He will be remembered for his great vitality, penetrating intellect, deep monastic life, service as abbot, spiritual director, and writer.

cover of book Thomas Merton: Prophet of the Renewal, with a picture of Merton