Order of Premontre, Premonstratensians, Norbertines, and White Canons

R. D. Bernard M. Marshall, O. Praem.

Birth: December 7, 1930

Death: February 16, 2007

House: Holy Trinity Abbey, Kilnacrott

  • Born in Belfast,  
  • Vestition 8 September 1948,
  • Solemn Profession 8 September 1950,
  • Ordination 12 June 1954;
  • Confessor.


The death took place of Rev. Bernard Marshall O.Praem, in Cavan General Hospital on Fri. 16 Feb. 2007.  He had been in failing health in recent years and was in care at Our Lady’s Manor Nursing Home, Edgeworthstown.  His last visit to the Abbey was the weekend of Feb. 3 / 4 for Fr. Thady Doyle’s Afternoon of Prayer (Sat.) and the Medjugorje Afternoon of Prayer (Sunday). He became ill on the Sunday evening and was transferred to Cavan General Hospital .

Fr. Bernard, his chosen name in religious life, was born on 7 Dec. 1930 in Belfast to William and Theresa Marshall and was christened Malachy Mary.  He was the fourth child in a family of 7 boys, four of whom became priests.  His primary education took place at The De La Salle St. Gall’s School, Clonard, on the Falls Road.  His secondary studies were with the Christian Brothers at St. Mary’s, Barrack St reet. He was a great athlete as a young boy and was totally dedicated to his studies.  On completion of his Senior Certificate Studies he entered Holy Trinity Priory at Kilnacrott and was clothed in the white habit of the Norbertine Order on 8 Sept. 1948.  His priestly studies took place at Holy Trinity Priory  and at the Holy Ghost Theologate, Kimmage Manor, Dublin .  He was ordained priest at the Cathedral of Sts. Patrick and Felim, Cavan by the Most Rev. Austin Quinn on 12 June, 1954. Other priests ordained with him were Fr. Philip Nash, O.Praem, Fr. Phil Reilly and Fr. Hugh Molloy for the Archdiocese of Birmingham.  Apart from one year in 1955 overseas at the Norbertine Priory, Storrington , England and brief periods of ministry in the Diocese of Galloway, Scotland and in our local Diocese of Kilmore, his entire life was spent at Kilnacrott.

From early years it was evident that Fr. Bernard was a man of deep spirituality and ever increasing number of people from far and wide came to visit him in their time of need.  He gave himself totally to the religious life and involved himself in many apostolates.  He served the Order in almost every position of responsibility during his years as a Norbertine.  He was Prior, Sub-Prior, Librarian, Archivist, Retreat giver, teacher of Philosophy, Novicemaster … the list goes on. He was involved in the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon support groups at the Abbey.  He was the founder of the Mother Teresa Action Group in the early 70’s.  This monthly Whist Drive continues to the present day and has raised approximately €400.000 for the Missionaries of Charity and many other charities in Ireland and abroad.  He and his committee received a lengthy letter of appreciation from Mother Teresa in Oct. 1993.

He organised many pilgrimages to Our Lady’s Shrine at Knock for almost 50 years.  He also organised the local people for the One-Day Retreats at Lough Derg.  Fr. Bernard was actively involved in the Marian Movement for Priests and a local Cenacle continues to meet at the Abbey each month.  There were many visits to St. Felim’s Hospital where the residents were entertained and received presents.  Residents from the Hospital were also brought to the Abbey for Mass and entertainment.  Phil Lynch, Oldcastle and others regularly provided the musical entertainment. He made pilgrimages to Fatima, Lourdes and Medjugorje.  He was Spiritual Director for some time for The Society of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa and it was on returning from a pilgrimage to Knock in July 2003 that he experienced a broken hip as he alighted from the bus in Ballinagh.  From that time onwards he has not enjoyed good health.

The introduction of Divine Mercy Devotion to our Abbey was the “brain-child” of Fr. Bernard.  A Divine Mercy Shrine was erected at the Abbey and on 28 November, 1991 a letter of recommendation was received from the late Pope John Paul 11 which included these words:

“As a pledge of comfort and peace in our Lord and Saviour Jesus, His Holiness gladly imparts His Apostolic Blessing to the Norbertine Community and to all who have helped in the realisation of the Project.”

He faithfully attended the annual Divine Mercy Conference at the RDS, Dublin.

Fr. Bernard was deeply involved in the introduction and promotion of the Eucharistic Adoration Apostolate for the laity at the Abbey.  Our beloved confrere has been known by generations of people from a wide area for almost 60 years.  Many people have their own personal memories of how he helped them in their time of need through his prayers and penance.  He was a prolific writer of letters and corresponded every Christmas with his legion of friends.  He will be greatly missed by all. Our Norbertine Order has been blessed to have him as a brother.  All his sufferings are now over.  May he be at peace in Paradise with the Risen Lord,Our Lady, all the angels and saints and all the people he knew and loved.  May his generous, charitable soul rest in peace. Requiescat in pace!

His passing is deeply regretted by his Community, as well as his brothers Dermot, Fr. Clement and Patrick, sisters-in-law Cathleen, Ann and Dympna, nephews and nieces, family circle and many people from far and wide.  His Requiem Mass was celebrated at Holy Trinity Abbey on Sunday 18 Feb. during our monthly Divine Mercy Devotions in the presence of Bishop Leo O’Reilly, Kilmore, who presided, many priests, religious sisters and an overflow congregation.  His body was interred in the Community Cemetery .  His month’s memory Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 18 March 2007 at 3.00 p.m.

Other Categories:
 People » Departed » Kilnacrott » February » 16