Father Arthur J. Pendleton, O.S.B passed over to the Lord on Friday evening, February 21, at Belmont Abbey, in the 60th year of his monastic profession and the 56th year of his priesthood. He was born in Providence, RI, on January 24, 1930, the son of Arthur N. and Mary Agnes Ryan Pendleton.
After earning a B.S. in Textile Chemistry and Coloring from the Rhode Island School of Design, and an M.S. in Textile Engineering from the Institute of Textile Technology in Charlottesville, VA., he moved to the Carolinas to pursue what he thought would be a career in the textile industry. God’s career plans, however, led him to the monastery and he made his first profession of vows on January 27, 1960. He was ordained a priest on June 4, 1964.
He served as Director of Brothers from 1964-66. He holds a record in our community of serving as Prior under three different abbots and one administrator, likely earning for himself now only the briefest of stays in purgatory.
In the difficult times in our community in the late 1980s, it was Father Arthur’s steadfast and humble leadership which held our community together. He was much sought-after as a confessor and spiritual director. Father Arthur also continued his studies in Chemistry, earning an additional Master’s Degree from Notre Dame and his PhD from Clemson University. He taught for 40 years in the Chemistry Department of our college, holding the position of Department Chair for fifteen years. As in all things, he was diligent in his service in the college, and was a respected and beloved colleague. Father Arthur earned a reputation as a formidable teacher with a passion for his subject and his students’ learning. Students regularly bewailed his demanding rigor and learned to appreciate his zeal only when they arrived in graduate school and found themselves singularly well prepared. It is said that Father Arthur would slip his first assignment into the textbooks in the college bookstore so his students could get to work without delay. If classes were cancelled for snow, he was known to slide lab assignments under the doors of his students in the residence halls. Father Arthur possessed a brilliant mind. After retiring from teaching, he attended classes in a variety of disciplines, participating in discussions and avidly pursuing his passion for reading a wide variety of materials.
Throughout his career, Father Arthur was a special mentor for students, who were drawn to him by his gentle smile and transparent simplicity of life. In later years he became the campus grandfather, spending hours on benches in the Quad listening to students, hearing their Confessions and encouraging them with his kindness. Sadly, in recent years, increasing dementia severely curtailed his joy in being with others.
Father Arthur was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, John. He is survived by the monks of Belmont Abbey, by his sister and brother-in-law Judith and Harry Hoitink, his sister-in-law Jane Pendleton, and his nephews John, Craig, and Frederic Hoitink.
Father Arthur’s body was received on Monday evening, February 24, at Vespers, followed by the Rosary and viewing. The Funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, February 25, with burial in the abbey cemetery. Father Arthur was an exemplary monk, a holy priest, and a beloved confrere, colleague, teacher and friend.
The Monks of Belmont Abbey