Rev. Oscar C. Burnett (1926 - 2017)

  • "Abbot Oscar, was a teacher and inspirational leader showing..."
    - Tom Fleming
  • "we will miss you terribly but know God called his best home..."
  • "Will forever cherish the fond memories and guidance you..."
    - Margie Crunkleton
  • "May Jesus Christ heartfelt prayer to his heavenly father at..."
    - Annie
  • "May the God and father of Abraham be with you as we await..."
    - AC

The Right Reverend Oscar C. Burnett, seventh abbot of Belmont Abbey, died in Belmont, NC, on November 21. A native of Savannah, GA, he is the son of the late Oscar Caldwell Burnett and Ellen Nell (nee Wheeler) Burnett. After graduating from Benedictine Military School in 1944, he served in the United States Army Air Force during the closing months of World War II. He earned an A.A. degree from Armstrong State College, and his law degree from the Lamar School of Law at Emory University. He practiced law in Savannah for six years, after which he entered the novitiate at Belmont Abbey, professing his vows in 1958. He completed his seminary studies at Belmont Abbey and was ordained a priest at in 1962. At Belmont Abbey College he held at various times the positions of associate professor, chair of the Social Sciences Division, dean of students, campus minister, member of the Board of Trustees, president and chancellor. He also served on two different occasions as associate pastor of St. Benedict Church and teacher at Benedictine High School, Richmond, VA. He was the Executive Director of the Ecumenical Institute of Wake Forest University and Belmont Abbey College from 1984-1990. In the monastic community over the years he held the offices of subprior, procurator, novice master and prior. In December 1991, he was elected abbot for an eight-year term. After his retirement from that office in 1999, he remained at Belmont Abbey, serving again briefly as prior, and continuing his service as mentor and spiritual guide for countless friends and alumni.

Abbot Oscar is survived by the monks of Belmont Abbey, by his sister, Miss Margaret Burnett of Savannah, and numerous nieces and nephews. The funeral Mass will be celebrated in the basilica at Belmont Abbey at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 25, with interment following in the abbey cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested for Belmont Abbey College.
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Published in Charlotte Observer on Nov. 23, 2017
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