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Tributes paid to Clare priest of 20 years, Fr Ben O’Rourke

Fr Ben O’Rourke OSA, who was parish priest of the Clare Priory church of Mother of Good Counsel for 16 years, has died at the age of 90. Fr David Middleton OSA pays tribute.

Fr Ben came from Co Kerry in Ireland and was ordained as a priest in 1956, spending 25 years at Austin Friars School, Carlisle, where he was an inspiring teacher of English and a very successful headmaster.

In the early 1980s he was appointed to join the Augustinian community at St Mary’s, Harborne in Birmingham as parish priest. And finally he served at Clare Priory for 20 years, 16 of those as parish priest. In addition he was a well-known spiritual guide.

Many people are grateful to him for the counsel that they received from Fr Ben. For many, an encounter with him was a life-changing moment.

His book Finding Your Hidden Treasure is highly regarded as a guide to contemplation and prayer. And his translation of The Confessions of St Augustine from the original Latin shows very clearly, in a modern and often poetic style, the journey of faith that make Augustine so relevant to us today.

Bishop Alan Hopes said: “Fr Ben will be remembered by many with great affection and especially for making the Confessions of St Augustine so available for our young people.”

Latterly Fr Ben has been cared for by the Little Sisters of the Poor in St Joseph’s care home in Harborne, Birmingham.  He died on August 25, four days after his 90th birthday, and will be buried at Clare on September 17 at 12 noon.