The Passing of Br. Elias, Author and Monk of Holy Spirit Abbey

Brother Elias Marechal, OCSO, a monk of the Cistercian (Trappist) Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA, died in the monastery infirmary on Saturday, February 25. Brother Elias, a monk of 30 years, was 86 years old when the Lord called him.

The celebration of the Funeral Mass of the Resurrection and the burial took place on Thursday, March 2, at 9:00 AM at the Monastery Abbey Church.

Brother Elias was born July 11, 1936, in New Orleans, LA, to Leandre Marechal (originally from Liege, Belgium) and Carmen Valenzuela Marechal (from Villlahermosa, Mexico). He was predeceased by his parents, his older siblings (Alyce O’Brien of Covington, LA, and Rene Marechal of São Paulo, Brazil), two nieces, and a nephew. He is survived by seven nieces and nephews, their descendants, and numerous cousins in the U.S., Mexico, Belgium, and Brazil.

Brother Elias, then Paul Marechal, was featured in a New Orleans newspaper at age two for being trilingual (English, Spanish, and French). He later learned Russian. Brother moved with his parents from New Orleans to Washington, DC, and attended high school while his father worked as an attaché for the Belgian Embassy. He later attended Georgetown and Notre Dame and taught high school at St John’s College in Washington. He also taught at a Catholic high school in Covington, LA. During her life, he was devoted to his mother, Carmen, and was an avid sports fan dedicated to the Atlanta Braves and Notre Dame after moving to Conyers.

Brother Elias entered Berryville and Gethsemaini briefly before he finally entered the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit (Conyers) in 1993. He made his solemn profession in 1999. During his 30 years of monastic life, Brother served the community for many years as Vocation Director and Novice Master. He was an enthusiastic member of the monastic schola, possessing a beautiful tenor voice. He was a great retreat presenter and the author of the spiritual books – Dancing Madly Backward: Journey Into God and Tears of an Innocent God: Conversations on Silence, Kindness, and Prayer.


By Dom Augustine

Thursday, March 2, 2023

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  John 3:16