Posted by: Peadar Ban | September 8, 2011

“Someone Was There”

First I have to tell you that I don’t know how this started, and I don’t know who started it, but I am happy that it did start, and I have a feeling, a lively hope that it will never end.  It is a kind of love affair, at least for me.

As with all things this way it happened quite by chance.  Shortly after we were married, while we were living in our first tiny apartment in Zanesville, OH, we decided to go to St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, IN, for a week long retreat.  St. Meinrad is a Benedictine monastery, and Mariellen and our friend Kathy who now lives with us here in Nashua. NH, are both Benedictine Oblates attached to St. Meinrad’s.  The retreat would be a retreat for the abbey oblates.

I was, to tell the truth, very much looking forward to going, never having been in Indiana, never having been to such a place and never really having experienced up close this much time with the Benedictines of any place.  I cannot remember the exact title of the retreat, but seem to recall it was generally going to be an exploration of Love.

So we found ourselves after a five hour drive at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey and in a lovely room.  On the second day, I think, we were introduced to one of the monks who would read us a short story he had written and talk to us about one aspect of love.  Soon we had the privilege of meeting him, Fr. Simeon Daly, O.S. B., an older man with a gentle smile and a whisper of a voice.  He read from a very short story he had written about a sojourn long ago in Europe, a tale of love and fidelity, which had me near tears from its simple and deep truth and his quiet matter of fact unfolding of the tale of loss and reward.

As the week went on, we met Father Simeon and listened to several others of his stories as he read them for us quietly in his little office downstairs, and we wandered about the Abbey buildings and grounds, attended Mass and took part in the Hours the monks in choir chanted.  I felt I was being courted, really.

I have kept in touch with Father Simeon through this means since then, and we have had some slight personal correspondence.  Today, he sent me a link to a YouTube video of himself.  In it he reads one of his very short stories and sings a song.  I thought I would share it with you.  The song is called “Someone Was There”, and I have titled this little note in the same manner.  I will let you decide whom may someone have been.


  1. that was so beautiful!

    • Thank you, Joan. Fr. Simeon is a beautiful fellow.

  2. I’m in NYC right now, reflecting on my time in September 2001 with the NYPD search and rescue effort at Ground Zero. Watching and listening to Father Simeon was exactly what I needed at this moment, an extraordinary tribute to that wonderful, good Sister by her humble student. The parable of the Lepers came to mind, how many others must she have influenced and guided.

    • Thanks, Paul. I ran into a couple of NYFD guys on The Day while in Dublin. They were there for the commemoration in that city. As you can well imagine there are quite a number of people directly affected by that tragedy and great crime all over the world. The place needs more Simeons. Peter


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