Father Eugene Joseph Alan McGlothlin OSB

McGlothllin.jpgMonk of Saint John's Abbey
Collegeville, Minnesota

Born: June 8, 1932
Professed: July 11, 1954
Ordained: June 4, 1960
Died: February 3, 2018


Joseph Alan McGlothlin was born in Faulkton, South Dakota, the second child of Elbert Joseph and Florence (Branick) McGlothlin. His sister, Marcene, along with his parents moved to Marshall, Minnesota, where Mr. McGlothlin worked for the United States Post Office as a rural mail carrier. Joseph attended Holy Redeemer School and the Marshall Public Schools, graduating from Marshall High School in 1950.

Joseph became a Saint John's University freshman in the fall of 1950 and graduated with a B.A. degree in philosophy in 1956. During college, Joseph entered the novitiate at Saint John's Abbey in 1953. He was given the religious name of Eugene and professed vows as a Benedictine monk on July 11, 1954. After finishing college, Eugene began his priesthood studies at Saint John's Seminary and was ordained a priest by Bishop Peter W. Bartholome on June 4, 1960.

After his ordination, Father Eugene was appointed associate pastor at Holy Rosary parish in Detroit Lakes (1960–63). In 1963, he became chaplain at Saint Mary's Medical Center in Duluth. Father Eugene returned to Saint John's University in 1968 where he was a faculty resident for students as well as holding a host of other positions: abbey liturgy director, secretary of the monastic chapter, campus coordinator, director of the job placement bureau, registrar (1970-72), coordinator of residence hall programming, and assistant to the vice-president of student affairs. In 1972, Father Eugene was awarded the degree of Master of Divinity (MDiv) after having completed his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Saint Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.

In 1975, Father Eugene was appointed chaplain at Saint Mary's Hospital in Detroit Lakes, and then returned to Saint Mary's Medical Center in Duluth as chaplain in 1976. Needing a break from his work in Duluth, Father Eugene became associate pastor for a priest friend in Saint Joseph's parish in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from 1978-81. While there he initiated a lay ministry training program for local churches. In 1981, Father Eugene became the director of pastoral Care for Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. In 1983, after his Kalamazoo ministry, Father Eugene returned to become the Director of Chaplain Services for the Saint Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, where he developed one of the best Clinical Pastoral Education centers in the country. In 1994 Father Eugene was elected by his peers to be president of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. Father Eugene said that as a chaplain he had to deal with a lot of people's pain, but being chaplain was never a downer. "If you try to fix or solve people's problems, you'll be saddened because you can't. But if you are open to sharing a patient's experience, then something life-giving can happen. Supporting people through very difficult times, helping them find hope and maybe peace—this is ministry at its deepest level."

In 1995 Father Eugene was called to be a part of a transitional team assigned to the new parish of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hastings, Minnesota. The combining of two parishes and making them into one parish with 3,000 parishioners had its special challenges. After seven successful years, his doctor told him to find an easier job in deference to his struggle with diabetes. He was pastor for one year at Saint Benedict's parish in Avon, Minnesota, and then, in 2003, he became pastor of Saint John the Baptist parish in Collegeville, Minnesota, retiring in August 2010.

Father Eugene loved listening to music, taking walks, and all things Irish. During his years in Duluth, he became fond of dogs. He raised "Bridget," a springer spaniel, from a pup to her old age. After her death, he adopted "Annie," another springer spaniel, when he moved to Hastings. After moving to the Saint Raphael Hall retirement center, Father Eugene adopted a terrier called "Neffi" after the famous Egyptian Queen.

Father Eugene died on February 3, 2018, in the retirement center at Saint John's Abbey. He is survived by his sister, Marcene, and the monastic community of Saint John's Abbey. The monks, family, and friends will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for Father Eugene on February 8 at 3:00 pm in the Saint John's Abbey and University Church. Interment in Saint John's Cemetery follows the service.

We ask each community member to offer two Masses according to the manner of his participation in the priesthood of Christ. We commend Father Eugene to your prayers.

Abbot John Klassen OSB
and the monks of Saint John's Abbey