The funeral Mass for Father Timothy Horner, OSB, founding headmaster of St. Louis Priory School, was to have been celebrated May 5 at St. Louis Abbey Church in Creve Coeur. Father Horner, 97, died April 27. He was the first member of his monastic community to serve as pastor of St. Anselm Parish.
Born in Quetta, Pakistan (then British-ruled India), Father Horner returned to England at a very young age, and was introduced to Benedictine monasticism at the age of 13 when he began studies at Ampleforth Abbey School. Upon graduation from Ampleforth, he considered a vocation to the monastic life, but decided to study at Oxford.
After serving in the artillery in World War II, he wrote to the abbot at Ampleforth to ask permission to join the monastic community there. He was clothed as a monk in 1946 and ordained to the priesthood in 1953. As a monk, he completed studies at Oxford. For several years he taught religion and classics at Ampleforth and coached sports, including cricket.
In 1955, Father Horner was selected by the abbot to come to St. Louis to continue teaching and be the new St. Louis Priory School’s first headmaster, a role he held from 1956-1974. He also coached track and rugby.
After his time as headmaster, Father Horner served as the pastor of St. Anselm Parish for 14 years. Under his leadership, the parish grew substantially in membership. He contributed to and assisted in editing the most widely read edition of the Rule of St. Benedict, now known simply as “RB 1980,” and upon retirement from the parish, he composed an official history of St. Louis Abbey and St. Louis Priory School titled, “In Good Soil.” He is the author of other books and pamphlets.
Father Horner taught spiritual theology at Kenrick Seminary in 2001. In 2004, the abbot president of the English Benedictine Congregation recognized Father Horner’s many accomplishments and contributions to the order by bestowing upon him the honorific title of Prior of Ely Cathedral in Cambridge, England.
Burial was to have been in the cemetery adjacent to the Abbey monastery.