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Vonier, Anscar


Benedictine, theologian; b. Ringschnait, Württemberg, Nov. 15, 1875; d. Buckfast Abbey, Dec. 26, 1938. Vonier entered Buckfast Abbey as a boy, and after his ordination in 1898 was sent to the College of S. Anselmo, Rome, for his doctorate in philosophy. En route from Barcelona to Niño Dios, Argentina, the "Sirio" in which Vonier and his abbot were sailing was wrecked off Cartagena, and Abbot Natter was among the many who were drowned. Dom Anscar was rescued and six weeks later was elected second abbot of Buckfast. Convinced that he had been spared for some special work, he immediately began the rebuilding of the abbey church on its ancient foundations. This was a huge undertaking, for the work was carried out exclusively by the monks, and its completion took 32 years. Besides this achievement Abbot Vonier gained prominence as a theologian. His The Human Soul (1913) and A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist (1925) soon became classics. The Personality of Christ (1915), The Christian Mind (1921), Christianus (1933) were also well received and have been widely read not only in English but in translations. The posthumous Sketches and Studies in Theology (1940) also deserves mention. In 1952 Burns & Oates, London, published his Collected Works. Abbot Vonier possessed the gift of expounding abstruse questions so as to make them intelligible not only to professional theologians but to intelligent lay readers as well.

Bibliography: e. graf, Anscar Vonier: Abbot of Buckfast (Westminster, Md. 1957).

[j. stÉphan]

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