ABBOT SHEA
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ABBOT AIDAN SHEA  
On Sunday, December 2, 2018, Abbot Aidan Shea, a Benedictine monk of St. Anselm's Abbey in Washington, DC, died after a lengthy illness. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 7, 1930, he received all of his elementary, high school, and college education in the Boston area and then entered the U.S. Army, where after initial training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he was sent to Washington to study Vietnamese and Chinese. After being honorably discharged, he entered the monastic community at St. Anselm's in the fall of 1957 and made his first monastic vows on December 8, 1958. After being ordained a priest in 1965, he served his monastic community and the wider church in many ways during a long and distinguished life. In the abbey's school he was an esteemed and beloved teacher of Latin, Greek, French, and English, and for many years served as college counselor and master of studies. At the same time, he was the spiritual director of many persons, who came to him for wise and helpful advice of the sort that he also gave to the lay oblate community at St. Anselm's and to numerous religious communities as a retreat master and chaplain. In 1990 the monastic community elected him as their abbot, a position he held for two eight-year terms. Upon retiring from the abbacy in 2006, the onset of health problems limited his ability to do the kinds of work that had marked his earlier years, but he continued to have a regular stream of devoted visitors who wanted not only to converse with him but simply to be in his presence. Abbot Aidan's body will be received at the Abbey Church, 4501 South Dakota Ave., NE, at 4 p.m. on Friday, December 14, with visitation until 9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in the abbey school's gymnasium on Saturday, December 15, at 10 a.m., followed by burial in the monastery cemetery.


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Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 12, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
December 26, 2018
Sacred to memory of Abbot Aidan Shea, a remarkable teacher, leader, friend and role model. I was privileged to know him since first meeting him as a 13 year old 46 years ago. A truly gifted teacher, who left us with a lifetime appreciation of English, literature and languages - in a sincere faith.
Stephen Haaga
December 14, 2018
Father Aidan....my son's teacher...a kind man and a true gentleman. The world needs many more Aidan Sheas.
December 13, 2018
I got to know Abbot Aiden Shea through a fellow classmate (I was Class of '61) who became life long friends with him. No question he was an authentic Renaissance man who was kind and gentle and lived by God's commandments.
john ondrick
December 12, 2018
I had the pleasure of studying Latin with Fr. Aidan in both seventh and eighth grades at St. Anselms. A very kind man. I recall him telling us that his hand writing was atrocious due to the fact that he was a lefty, but forced to write with his right hand as a child. He had a lasting impact on me. I even named my first son Aidan, as a nod to the type of man I hoped he would grow to be. I was not in contact with Fr. Aidan as an adult, and I regret that now, but that in no way detracts from the impact he had on my life. I'm sure he will be missed.
Jason Barnes
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