Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana Archives

Dom Frank Rolland Paul Severance

Dom Paul Severance, born Frank Rolland Severance, was born in Willsboro, New York, on 7 December 1892, the son of Bert D. and Nellie Severance. He became a professor of Apologetics at Nashotah House Seminary, and in 1935 journeyed to Nashdom Abbey in England in 1935 to become a monk in the Anglican tradition. He became a novice in 1936, adopting the name of Paul, and made his junior profession in 1937. He returned to the United States in 1938 in search of a permanent home for an American monastery. Bishop Campbell Gray invited him to form St. Gregory's House in Valparaiso, Indiana, in 1939 and gave him charge of several churches that were in need of clergy, including St. Andrew's in Valparaiso, St. Stephen's in Hobart, and St. Augustine's in Gary. Three other monks shared the duties, including Dom Leo Patterson, Dom Meinrad Black, and Dom Francis Bacon, though Patterson and Black would leave in 1941 after a shortage of funds. Severance and Bacon made their formal professions under the Rule of St. Benedict in 1941 before Dom Anselm Hughes, O.S.B., prior of Nashdom Abbey. In 1945, Severance and Bacon went to St. Joseph County, Michigan, at the invitation of the Rev. Richard Cooper of Trinity Church in Three Rivers. There they found property suitable for building what would become St. Gregory's Abbey. In 1947, Severance suffered a massive stroke and died two years later at Nashdom Abbey in England on 1 November 1949, where he was buried.


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