Michael Joseph Marx, O.S.B.
October 24, 1913 - May 5, 1993
October 24, 1913 - May 5, 1993
Worship lost a very dear friend in the recent death of Father Michael Marx O.S.B. He was the managing editor of this journal (Worship) from 1963 until 1986. In that capacity, he exercised an important role in shaping the editorial policy of the magazine during the years following the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. He promoted the development of an ecumenical editorial board drawn from both Western and Eastern Christian Churches, a decision which wisely broadened the scope and raised the scholarly level of articles accepted for publication. If Worship is respected throughout the English-speaking world and beyond as an organ addressing serious liturgical issues in an interdisciplinary context and with sensitivity toward various Christian traditions, it is in many ways due to Father Michael's initiative, hard work, and perseverance in maintaining high standards. By nature he was rather shy, always self-effacing, and modest about his accomplishments.
Father Michael was a man of great integrity, capable of critical judgments but one who tempered his evaluations with deep loyalty to Church, monastery, family, and friends. Young liturgical scholars who submitted articles to him for publication were encouraged by his careful editing and his insightful direction; they knew he had the habit of checking all their footnotes in the library. As mature scholars they are now grateful for his friendship and wisdom. Although he himself never sought attention, he had a keen appreciation for monastic hospitality which he graciously shared with countless guests who visited Collegeville. He regularly brought people together for stimulating conversations sparked by his incisive questions often posed around the dining table. By training he was always respectful of authentic tradition; by nature he was inquisitive, open-minded, and sympathetic toward new developments. His close friends knew him as a man of sensitivity, compassion, and dependability.
Father Michael was born on 24 October 1913 in Saint Michael, Minnesota, on of fourteen children, four of whom became Benedictines. He was educated at Saint John's Preparatory School and University, was professed as a monk of Saint John's Abbey on 11 July 1936, and was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on 13 July 1941. He received a doctorate in sacred theology from the Collegio de Sant' Anselmo on Rome with a dissertation on "Incessant Prayer in Ancient Monastic Literature." It was published by Scuola Salesiana del Libre in 1946. He also received a licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. Upon his return to the United Sates after the Second World War, Father Michael taught systematic theology in Saint John's Seminary and Graduate School of Theology from 1947 until his retirement in 1982. He died in the retirement center at Saint John's Abbey on 5 May 1993.
In 1988, along with Father Aelred Tegels O.S.B., Father Michael received the Berakah Award from the North American Academy of Liturgy. The citation noted some of his special gifts: "editorial perspicuity," "unfailingly gracious labor," "exquisite patience," and "unerring good judgment." Those who knew and worked with him are grateful for those gifts. We hope and pray that he now shares fully in the Paschal Mystery which he taught and celebrated for so many years.
Tribute taken from Worship 1993, page 291. Reprinted with permission.