Father Bertrand Abell, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1889-1955)

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Born Ernest Abell June 14, 1889 in Lakenan, Missouri he grew up on a farm where he helped his father. His mother Martha Adams was a convert to Catholicism and she died when he was very young. After early schooling in the town he went to Quincy College, Quincy, Illinois for two to three years. During this time he had a chance to meet Father Benedict Hanley, C.P. It was not long before Ernest entered the Passionist novitiate at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he was trained by Father Wilfred Avery, C.P. Professed on August 15, 1910, he received the name Bertrand and he was ordained June 13, 1915 at the monastery church, St. Paul, Kansas. Father Abell’s first assignment was as director of students and professor at Immaculate Conception Retreat, Chicago, Illinois. During this time the attic area of the monastery was transformed into an study place for elocution. During the provincial chapter of 1926 Father Abell was elected the Rector of Holy Cross Monastery, Cincinnati, Ohio. He held the position until 1932. That year he went as vicar to St. Paul, Kansas, then on to Detroit, Michigan and Sierra Madre, California. At this time he was taken up with retreats and missions as well. In 1945 he was appointed pastor at St. Ann’s Parish, Normandy, Missouri where he renovated the convent and initiated a plan which was used for the new church. In part, this was the selection of Joe Murphy as the architect. When the parish was given back to the diocese in 1948 Father Abell was transferred to the new Passionist foundation in Houston, Texas where he remained until his death in 1955.