Father Ignatius (John) Smith, O.S.B., 86, died the afternoon of April 27, 2013, at the Atchison Hospital, having received the sacraments of the Church and apostolic pardon from Abbot James Albers, O.S.B.
The monks of the Abbey will pray Vespers for the Dead for Father Ignatius in the Abbey Church on Tuesday, April 30th at 7:00 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered there on Wednesday, May 1 at 10:30 a.m., with Abbot James R. Albers officiating at both. Burial will follow in the monastery cemetery. Memorials in honor of Fr. Ignatius can be made to St. Benedict’s Abbey, 1020 N. Second St., Atchison, KS 66002. The Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
He was born on August 31, 1926, in Wilmore, Pa. the son of Peter Joseph and Florence (Beyer) Smith. He was the oldest of three children,
Father Ignatius grew up in the heart of Benedictine territory in Pennsylvania, a short distance from Carrolltown, where Father Henry Lemke, OSB, the first Benedictine monk to come to Kansas is buried. Six first cousins went on to the priesthood, including several who became monks at Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA. Father Ignatius followed them and professed his vows as a monk at the Archabbey on September 23, 1946. During his time in simple vows, Father Ignatius transferred his stability to Holy Cross Abbey, Cañon City, Colo. a foundation of Latrobe. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 18, 1954 as a monk of Holy Cross Abbey.
While a monk there he was faithful to duties in parishes throughout Colorado, as well as serving at various times as Prior at the monastery itself in Canon City. In July, 2002, when the monks of Holy Cross Abbey voted to close the monastery, Father Ignatius was appointed the temporary superior in the period of transition. He later came to Atchison, transferring his monastic vows here.
Father Ignatius was a quiet man, faithful to his monastic vows. Throughout his life he saw much change: growing up in the great depression, moving to Colorado, and then witnessing the closing of that monastic community. Through it all he remained faithful to his commitment to Jesus Christ as a monk and a priest.
He is survived by his brother monks in the monastic community; his brother Thomas in Cañon City, Colo; and his sister Rose (Smith) Norris and her husband Joseph of Cresson, Pa, and their children Gia (Jerod) Tanksley (Nashville), and Joseph (Cresson)