Thursday, 4 October 2012

Alberic OSB, RIP

Brother Alberic Stacpoole (as he then was) and I were university contemporaries even though he was more than a decade senior to me. After school, he had been commissioned in the Army, where I got the impression his career had glittered, though I never knew the details. It was clear to me at Oxford that he took his studies rather more seriously than I did: this didn't in any way come in the way of our friendship, and it was still a mighty surprise that he came down with a First.

We next met properly at Lourdes in the early 'Seventies: I recall standing on a balcony with him after a late lunch. It was a hot day, but he was observant enough to detect that the breeze of the evening was just beginning to show itself: there was a sensitivity that reflected his always immaculate appearance.

It was a shock to see him again - after a long gap - at Easter last year. His handshake had the same warmth, but try as he might to make sense, his mind was elsewhere. So it's a mercy that he has at length died.

I took this happy photograph of Alberic (centre) at Ampleforth on 8th July 1973 - after the ordination of Fr. Richard ffield, seen looking away to the right.

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