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The Flying Monk

Date: Jan 17th 2022

In 1963 a young priest joined the Trappist order of monks and was assigned to Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer Massachusetts, Father Thomas Keating was the abbot in charge, This young priest was named Father William Meninger. As Abbot, Fr, Keating was concerned that he was unaware of any Christian meditation to offer to those seeking meditation as a way of prayer. Other religions had numerous meditations to offer. Fr. Keating directed this junior monk, Fr, William Meninger to research and find meditations that were Christian in nature. William located a dusty little book in the monastery library called “The Cloud of Unknowing”. This discovery occurred in 1974 and it seemed to satisfy his search, He brought the book to Father Keating who was pleased. Both William and Thomas would soon find out that this dusty book would become the historical basis of their ensuing spiritual teachings like Centering Prayer.

This video – elaborates the early stages of Christian Meditation based on “The Cloud”. Having survived major heart and cancer problems, Fr. William felt an urgency to share his discovery with both fellow monks and lay people. He had been transferred to St. Benedicts Monastery in Snowmass Colorado, as was Fr. Keating. Fr. William traveled by air from California to New York teaching contemplative prayer principles with stops in the mid Atlantic states where I met him.

William stayed at my carriage house in Great Falls Virginia while teaching in the middle Atlantic states. He had a companion traveler and friend that stayed with him. Dan Dobbins was a practicing attorney from Florida that joined Fr, William on all his flights around North America. This was quite a sacrifice by Dan but Dan felt strongly that William’s message should be heard by as many as possible, I was the designated driver for William and Dan. I was responsible for his ground transportation to churches, universities {like Penn State},or auditoriums and setting him up for his talk. As a reminder, Dan joined him on his flying to the speaking destinations. William walked with a cane so Dan was quite a help.

William was a most interesting spiritual teacher with talks on “the Cloud”, Centering Prayer, Forgiveness, Enneagram, mystics like John of the cross and also silent meditations. The Contemplative Outreach personnel assisted us in marketing William’s talks in the appropriate region. Fr. William felt an urgency to spread the contemplative message. Sadly he passed away on February 14, 2021. But his mission was accomplished. Earlier, while driving with William he often spoke of the silent divine messages God delivered through the mystics like Julian of Norwich. A 16th century English mystic. He will be missed, His research and writings will be stored at Emory University, in Georgia. If one googles his name on Amazon books, all his books will be displayed.

William will be remembered for his dedication, joy, humor and living life to its maximum. William has not stopped flying. While in heaven now, airplanes are not needed, he will be joining the angels in their flying. He will keep the title ‘the flying monk’. Fr. Keating will join Fr. William in heaven and fly also having recently passed too.