Brother Philip Ripley, OSB
Community: Saint Meinrad
Date of Birth:08/06/1932
First Profession: August 10, 1952
Date of Death: 04/16/2016
On April 16, 2016, Brother Philip Ripley, O.S.B., monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, died peacefully in the Lord in his residence in Evansville, Indiana. Brother's health had been slowly declining for some time and, in fact, some discussion had just begun concerning his return to the abbey in the near future.
Brother Philip was born in Paducah, Kentucky, on August 6, 1932, to Clarence and Rose (Wurth) Ripley, and was given the name Clarence Henry at his baptism. After completing his elementary education at Saint Mary's Academy in Paducah, he attended high school at the Academy for one year, and then entered Saint Meinrad Seminary High School, from which he was graduated in 1950.
He then began a period of candidacy, assuming work in the monastery tailor shop. He was invested with the monastic habit the following year. He professed his simple vows on August 10, 1952, and his perpetual vows on August 10, 1955.
After working in the tailor shop for five years, Brother Philip was asked to serve in the seminary high school library, an assignment he held for five years.
Beginning in 1960, for reasons of health, Brother Philip spent the rest of his life away from the monastery - for a while with family members in California, and then mostly in Evansville, Indiana. His search for peace during these years was often difficult, but he was determined and persistent, and tried as best he could to be of help to others and not burden them with his difficulties.
Indeed, in 1977 he began nearly 40 years of service to Saint Mary Parish in Evansville, working as housekeeper and launderer, assisting in the sacristy, and caring for many of the parish's sick and elderly through his ministry as Eucharistic minister. He was always willing to lend a hand at special parish events, doing whatever was needed.
Although away from the monastery for most of his monastic life, Brother Philip was a faithful letter writer and maintained regular contact with his superiors. For many years, he made a point of returning to the abbey on special feasts such as Christmas and Easter, even if for only a few hours.
An avid reader, Brother Philip also included among his interests bicycling and professional baseball, and claimed the Philadelphia Phillies and our closer neighbors, the Saint Louis Cardinals, as his favorite teams.
Brother Philip was a jubilarian of profession, in the 63rd year of his profession at the time of his death, and 83 years old.
The Office of the Dead will be prayed at 7:00 p.m. on April 22, in the Archabbey Church. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on April 23, in the Archabbey Church. Burial will follow in the Archabbey Cemetery.