Remembering Father Bruno

Father BrunoSunday, November 29 (first day of Advent) – We tolled the bells this morning just after the wake up bell at 5:15 a.m. and gathered at Fr. Bruno’s bedside for a vigil. For those who hadn’t heard, Bruno’s health had been declining and he finally needed to enter hospice care at an outside facility for a short period of time. We had brought him home just Friday noon and he died late Saturday evening. He had one of us with him the whole time and his dear friend Lynne had just arrived a few hours before. A momentous way to begin Advent! We will miss our beloved Bruno.

Born Arthur Paul Barnhart on April 10, 1931, in Long Island, New York, Fr. Bruno was the only child of Arthur Chamberlain and Julia Barnhart. Fr. Bruno received his B.S. in chemistry from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He later received his M.A. in chemistry at Dartmouth, New Hampshire.

Fr. Bruno spent 2 years in the Navy where he worked in lab tech biochemistry at Bethesda Naval Hospital. During his lab days Bruno lost sight in one of his eyes during an accident in the laboratory. After visiting the Trappists of Spencer, Massachusetts and Genesee, New York, Fr. Bruno contacted Fr. Modotti at New Camaldoli Hermitage. He arrived in Big Sur on April 9, 1959.

Fr. Bruno professed vows in 1960 (simple) and 1964 (solemn). During the 1960’s he studied in Italy, receiving a STL degree from Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. Fr. Bruno served as prior of New Camaldoli Hermitage from 1969 to 1987, making trips to Italy every 3 years during that time to serve as a member of the Camaldolese Constitutions Committee. He has published several articles and five books (The Good Wine, Second Simplicity, The Future of Wisdom, The One Light (editor) and Purity of Heart (co-editor). He has given many retreats, conferences and workshops over the years. Since 1994, Fr. Bruno has served as editor of The Golden String, the official publication of the Bede Griffiths Trust.

Check out the “Wisdom Christianity” video series by Father Bruno!

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12 Comments

  1. I was blessed to be on a retreat with Fr. Bruno a few years back in Nanaimo BC. I cannot remember the topic or the content of the retreat. What I do remember is how Fr. Bruno and his presence made me feel. Alive! Lazarus like alive! I will always carry that feeling inside. It has made me want to be a better person…..

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  2. Having come to know Fr. Bruno only last year, I feel most especially blessed to have had a little meeting with him and my two sisters at the hermitage last spring. He told us of his life and of his amazing blend of being both a scientist and a great lover of literature. May we all live into the “second simplicity,” loving this true teacher and wise one. My heart is wide open to all of you there remembering him and grieving, all the while knowing ” love is stronger than death.”

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  3. Saddened to hear of Fr Bruno’s passing. As we say in Aotearoa New Zealand, a mighty totara has fallen.I have appreciated his writings very much.

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  4. Deo gratias for his life and work!

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  5. Fr Bruno exemplified.the ideal combination of fully human and thoroughly the monastic contemplative. The Benectine hospitality combined with the charisma of the Camaldolese. Just Wise and holy, a true disciple of Christ. May he rest in Peace

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  6. My late wife Loris and I met Fr. Bruno on our first visit to the monastery in July 1973 – we were very impressed by this quiet, spiritual priest – he celebrated Mass that day, and a few years later we attended a retreat where he was one of the speakers – while we were never that close to him we always tried to say hi to him whenever we visited – it will be sad not to see him when I visit now – God bless his soul and thank you New Camaldoli for being a quiet place in our frantic world where we can experience the love and peace of Christ !

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    • With Bruno the finite became the infinite whether he spoke or wrote or stood at the altar or presided or was attending the meal. He is our beloved Bruno.

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  7. I had a long talk with Father Bruno in April of 2014 while spending a few days at the Hermitage. The sense of his presence and his wise and direct words of counsel still resonate. That time and its residuum were and are full of grace, as he was and is.

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  8. I met with Fr Bruno several times when I came from Australia to stay at The Hermitage for a fortnight in 2005. I asked him to set me on the path of learning the wisdom tradition, and he did so with vigour and thoroughness. I loved his energy, his humour, his humility, and the widens of his vision. As I have some hearing impairment, I sought out the most audible place in the chapel, so that I could catch a many words as possible of his reflections. I have a deep sense of gratitude for his life.

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  9. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing. My belated sympathies to those in the community.
    I met with Father Bruno in May 2014 and received reconciliation. I learned from him.

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