In memory of
Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy
In memory of
Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy
FARKASFALVY, Abbot Denis June 23, 1936 May 20, 2020 Abbot Denis (Miklós) Farkasfalvy was born in Hungary on June 23, 1936, in the ancient city of Székesfehérvár, the youngest son of István and Mária Knazoviczky Farkasfalvy. He entered the novitiate of the Cistercian Order in Zirc, Hungary on March 19, 1955 at the age of 18, and persevered in monastic life for 65 years, until his death in Dallas, Texas on May 20, 2020. Abbot Denis's enchantment with Cistercian life came early. He and his brothers were educated by Cistercians in his home town until their school was suppressed in 1948. He first visited Zirc for a large celebration at Easter 1949 when he was not quite 13 years old and the monastery too was already under threat of suppression from the Soviet-backed government. The experience affected him profoundly and he resolved to become a monk, priest, and teacher like the men he saw there, "A decision I never found reason to question or regret In some sense those two days shaped the rest of my life," he wrote. Cistercian schools were closed in Hungary, but the 1000-year- old Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma remained open, and Fr. Denis would attend high school there as an "oblate" of Zirc. Zirc was officially suppressed on October 15, 1950, but in 1955 Fr. Denis joined the clandestine novitiate operated by Fr. Lawrence 'Sigmond, vicar for the abbot, who was imprisoned at that time. Fr. Denis pursued his early monastic formation in Budapest, under the cover of being a Law student. Thus Fr. Denis was on hand during the vast student demonstration of October 1956 that led to the brief downfall of Soviet rule in the country. During that short period, the abbot of Zirc was released from prison, and with the encouragement of Fr. Lawrence decided to send young monks out of the country. Thus, at the age of 20, shortly after his first vows as a monk, Fr. Denis passed through Austria and found his way with others to Rome. There, from 19561962, he completed his theological studies at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm. Fr. Denis was devoted to the work of theology. Later on, he completed another degree, in Sacred Scripture, at the Biblical Institute in Rome (197475, 198485), though with interruptions because of his immense labors in the school and monastery of Dallas. He became an accomplished theologian, and the life-long work he dedicated to the study of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, of the Virgin Mary, and of Sacred Scripture have left significant marks on Catholic theology. He published many works of theology in both Hungarian and English, and his abilities garnered him the attention of St. John Paul II, who appointed him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission (2003 2013). His translation of the Psalms and hymns for the Roman Breviary in Hungarian are highly regarded. He helped establish the theology curriculum at the Cistercian Preparatory School and taught theology at the University of Dallas in the 1960s, and more fully from 2004 onward. When Fr. Denis came to Texas in 1962, shortly after his ordination to the priesthood, he took up residence in Fort Worth, where he served as chaplain to the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur (who helped him learn English) and worked toward an M.S. in Mathematics at TCU for the sake of the newly founded Cistercian Preparatory School. Fr. Denis finished his degree in 1965 and taught Mathematics for more than 40 years. In this as in so many other regards Fr. Denis showed himself both extraordinarily talented as an individual and yet also deeply dedicated in obedience to the good of the community. Fr. Denis served as the second headmaster of Cistercian, from 19691974 and then 19751981, and was the Form Master of various classes, graduating in 1974, 1981, 1982, and 1991. Although he did not found the school, his insightful and decisive attitude cleared the atmosphere of confusion and allowed him to instill the high ideals he and the community envisioned for education. Under his tenure the school first reached its basic plan not only in the sense of, for example, building a gymnasium and hiring certain excellent teachers who remained for decades, but also in the deeper sense of cultivating what the community of the school was to mean. Not without great difficulty and many obstacles did he lay the groundwork that future headmasters would build on. Fr. Denis knew from experience how important it is to dedicate oneself to the young. The monastic community of Dallas elected Fr. Denis as their second abbot on Easter Monday, April 4, 1988; he served for four terms, until his resignation in 2012. When Fr. Denis became abbot, the future of the monastery was still uncertain. Few young men had joined in the preceding decades, and with the reopening of the mother house of Zirc in 1989 it was not clear whether Hungarians would remain here. But Fr. Denis was certain that his role was to build here a lasting home for the vision that had inspired the Hungarian refugees from the beginning. He guided the project of several alumni that completed the basic plan of the monastery by constructing the uniquely beautiful Abbey Church in 1992. This new visibility and show of confidence began to bear fruit in the internal renewal of the monastic community. In 20023, shortly after the tenth anniversary of the chapel's consecration, a stream of more than a dozen young American vocations began to flow in from the Prep School, the University of Dallas, and elsewhere. No one who met Fr. Denis was left unimpressed; he was unsparing in his efforts to bring into reality the vision of peace he first had as a young boy visiting Zirc, to transmit and perfect what was best in Hungarian Cistercian life, and to offer himself generously to the many souls who found a father, brother, and friend in him. He became a convincing witness to the truth of Christianity and the beauty of the monastic life. Among his many recognitions was Dallas's Catholic Foundation Award in 2016. Fr. Denis is survived in Hungary by his sister Mária, and by nieces and nephews Miklós, István, Margaret, Kinga, and Zsolt. Fr. Denis died from Covid-19 on May 20, 2020, after long struggling with complications from the many illnesses he suffered, compounded by having contracted the new virus just days before The rosary will be held at 7:30 PM on Sunday, May 24 in the Abbey, and the funeral on Monday, May 25, at 2:00PM, followed by burial in the Abbey's crypt. Because of present circumstances, these liturgies will be closed to public participation but livestreamed for all to view on the CistercianDallas YouTube channel. Details of a gathering in person will be shared later. Arrangements handled by Calvary Hill Funeral Home
View Full Obituary ›
Past Services ╲╱
opt299:
opt312: Original
In memory of
Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy
FARKASFALVY, Abbot Denis June 23, 1936 May 20, 2020 Abbot Denis (Miklós) Farkasfalvy was born in Hungary on June 23, 1936, in the ancient city of Székesfehérvár, the youngest son of István and Mária Knazoviczky Farkasfalvy. He entered the novitiate of the Cistercian Order in Zirc, Hungary on March 19, 1955 at the age of 18, and persevered in monastic life for 65 years, until his death in Dallas, Texas on May 20, 2020. Abbot Denis's enchantment with Cistercian life came early. He and his brothers were educated by Cistercians in his home town until their school was suppressed in 1948. He first visited Zirc for a large celebration at Easter 1949 when he was not quite 13 years old and the monastery too was already under threat of suppression from the Soviet-backed government. The experience affected him profoundly and he resolved to become a monk, priest, and teacher like the men he saw there, "A decision I never found reason to question or regret In some sense those two days shaped the rest of my life," he wrote. Cistercian schools were closed in Hungary, but the 1000-year- old Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma remained open, and Fr. Denis would attend high school there as an "oblate" of Zirc. Zirc was officially suppressed on October 15, 1950, but in 1955 Fr. Denis joined the clandestine novitiate operated by Fr. Lawrence 'Sigmond, vicar for the abbot, who was imprisoned at that time. Fr. Denis pursued his early monastic formation in Budapest, under the cover of being a Law student. Thus Fr. Denis was on hand during the vast student demonstration of October 1956 that led to the brief downfall of Soviet rule in the country. During that short period, the abbot of Zirc was released from prison, and with the encouragement of Fr. Lawrence decided to send young monks out of the country. Thus, at the age of 20, shortly after his first vows as a monk, Fr. Denis passed through Austria and found his way with others to Rome. There, from 19561962, he completed his theological studies at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm. Fr. Denis was devoted to the work of theology. Later on, he completed another degree, in Sacred Scripture, at the Biblical Institute in Rome (197475, 198485), though with interruptions because of his immense labors in the school and monastery of Dallas. He became an accomplished theologian, and the life-long work he dedicated to the study of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, of the Virgin Mary, and of Sacred Scripture have left significant marks on Catholic theology. He published many works of theology in both Hungarian and English, and his abilities garnered him the attention of St. John Paul II, who appointed him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission (2003 2013). His translation of the Psalms and hymns for the Roman Breviary in Hungarian are highly regarded. He helped establish the theology curriculum at the Cistercian Preparatory School and taught theology at the University of Dallas in the 1960s, and more fully from 2004 onward. When Fr. Denis came to Texas in 1962, shortly after his ordination to the priesthood, he took up residence in Fort Worth, where he served as chaplain to the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur (who helped him learn English) and worked toward an M.S. in Mathematics at TCU for the sake of the newly founded Cistercian Preparatory School. Fr. Denis finished his degree in 1965 and taught Mathematics for more than 40 years. In this as in so many other regards Fr. Denis showed himself both extraordinarily talented as an individual and yet also deeply dedicated in obedience to the good of the community. Fr. Denis served as the second headmaster of Cistercian, from 19691974 and then 19751981, and was the Form Master of various classes, graduating in 1974, 1981, 1982, and 1991. Although he did not found the school, his insightful and decisive attitude cleared the atmosphere of confusion and allowed him to instill the high ideals he and the community envisioned for education. Under his tenure the school first reached its basic plan not only in the sense of, for example, building a gymnasium and hiring certain excellent teachers who remained for decades, but also in the deeper sense of cultivating what the community of the school was to mean. Not without great difficulty and many obstacles did he lay the groundwork that future headmasters would build on. Fr. Denis knew from experience how important it is to dedicate oneself to the young. The monastic community of Dallas elected Fr. Denis as their second abbot on Easter Monday, April 4, 1988; he served for four terms, until his resignation in 2012. When Fr. Denis became abbot, the future of the monastery was still uncertain. Few young men had joined in the preceding decades, and with the reopening of the mother house of Zirc in 1989 it was not clear whether Hungarians would remain here. But Fr. Denis was certain that his role was to build here a lasting home for the vision that had inspired the Hungarian refugees from the beginning. He guided the project of several alumni that completed the basic plan of the monastery by constructing the uniquely beautiful Abbey Church in 1992. This new visibility and show of confidence began to bear fruit in the internal renewal of the monastic community. In 20023, shortly after the tenth anniversary of the chapel's consecration, a stream of more than a dozen young American vocations began to flow in from the Prep School, the University of Dallas, and elsewhere. No one who met Fr. Denis was left unimpressed; he was unsparing in his efforts to bring into reality the vision of peace he first had as a young boy visiting Zirc, to transmit and perfect what was best in Hungarian Cistercian life, and to offer himself generously to the many souls who found a father, brother, and friend in him. He became a convincing witness to the truth of Christianity and the beauty of the monastic life. Among his many recognitions was Dallas's Catholic Foundation Award in 2016. Fr. Denis is survived in Hungary by his sister Mária, and by nieces and nephews Miklós, István, Margaret, Kinga, and Zsolt. Fr. Denis died from Covid-19 on May 20, 2020, after long struggling with complications from the many illnesses he suffered, compounded by having contracted the new virus just days before The rosary will be held at 7:30 PM on Sunday, May 24 in the Abbey, and the funeral on Monday, May 25, at 2:00PM, followed by burial in the Abbey's crypt. Because of present circumstances, these liturgies will be closed to public participation but livestreamed for all to view on the CistercianDallas YouTube channel. Details of a gathering in person will be shared later. Arrangements handled by Calvary Hill Funeral Home
View Full Obituary ›
Past Services ╲╱
Sort
100% Money Back Guarantee
Need Help? Have Questions?