Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict


Former abbot Fr. Timothy Sweeney, OSB, dies August 17

August 17, 2017

Timothy Sweeney _2008_for _webFr. Timothy Sweeney, OSB, 82, a monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad, IN, died at 4 a.m. on August 17, 2017, at the monastery. He was a jubilarian both of profession and priesthood. He served as archabbot of Saint Meinrad from 1978 to 1995.

Fr. Timothy was born in Indianapolis, IN, on July 24, 1935, and given the name Robert Joseph at his baptism. He enrolled in Saint Meinrad High School seminary in 1949. Graduating from high school, he was invested as a novice on August 14, 1955. He professed his simple vows on August 15, 1956, and his solemn vows in 1959.

Fr. Timothy received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Saint Meinrad College and a Master of Divinity from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 7, 1961.

After ordination, Father Timothy earned a licentiate in sacred theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant' Anselmo in Rome. He then attended the Institut Catholique in Paris, France, and earned a licentiate in philosophy.

In 1968 he returned to Saint Meinrad as a member of the philosophy faculty of the college. He taught philosophy for 10 years, during which time he also served the monastic community as subprior (1970-1975) and as master of novices and juniors (1972-1975). In 1975, he was appointed prior of the Archabbey.

On June 2, 1978, the monastic community elected him as the seventh abbot and fourth archabbot.

Under his leadership as abbot, Saint Meinrad built a new monastery and new library; renovated the former monastery (now St. Anselm Hall) for seminary and graduate theology use; began the four-year process of completing the renovation of the Archabbey Church begun after the Second Vatican Council; expanded and formalized the missions of the College, School of Theology, and Abbey Press; and enjoyed the significant growth of its endowment.

After resigning as abbot, Fr. Timothy served in parishes, including St. Bridget Parish, Liberty, IN; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Hammond, IN; Parish of the Immaculate, Owensboro, KY; and St. Paul Parish, Tell City, IN.

He returned to the monastery to teach philosophy in the seminary for the 2009-2011 academic years, and then served as administrator of St. Charles Parish, Bloomington, IN, for six months. He then spent nine months at Blue Cloud Abbey, Marvin, SD, assisting with their archives and facilitating their discussions as to the future of the Blue Cloud community.

Returning to Saint Meinrad in September 2012, he maintained and managed the archives of Saint Meinrad and of the Swiss-American Congregation, while also serving the parishes of St. Isidore, Bristow, IN, and St. Martin, Siberia, IN, as their administrator.

The Office of the Dead will be prayed at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 21, in the Archabbey Church, followed by visitation until 9 p.m. Visitation on Tuesday will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. in the Archabbey Church, followed by the funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in the Archabbey Cemetery. All times are Central Time.