Father James Stephen Behrens, OCSO, a monk at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Rockdale County, died on Thursday, Aug. 15, at the hospital as a result of complications from a lung biopsy procedure.
A monk of 25 years and a priest of 45 years, he served as a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark for over 20 years before entering the monastery in 1994. Father James was 71 years old when the Lord called him.
Fr James is the author of six books; two of them containing collections of photographs, each captivating image is accompanied by brief snippets of inspirational words to spark reflection and inner thought. He is the author of the bestseller Portraits of Grace. He is a long-time contributor to the National Catholic Reporter, and his writings have appeared in Notre Dame Magazine, St. Anthony Messenger, the Liguorian, and Living Faith. He is a regular contributor to the Georgia Bulletin and various other publications.
Father James was born in Brooklyn, New York after his parents relocated from New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of his youth was spent in Montclair New Jersey, which is the focus of many of his essays. He tends to write on the significance of the ordinary, the sacredness of what comes our way every day and seems to recede from our grasp. His fresh, down-to-earth reflections show how modern monasticism can have a powerful impact on the lives and spirituality of people living far beyond cloister walls.
Father James is one of seven siblings. His brothers John and James Behrens preceded him in death. He is survived by his sisters Mary Behrens McCarthy (Brian) of Atlanta, Margaret (Meg) Brown (James) of Herndon, Virginia and brothers Robert F. Behrens (Marnie) of Highpoint NC, Peter Behrens (Bonnie) of Troy Michigan and God Mother Mary Dwyer of Brooklyn NY. Father James was a loving uncle to three nephews and five nieces.
The celebration of the Funeral Mass of the Resurrection and the burial will be on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 10 a.m., at the monastery church.
Condolences and memorial offerings may be sent in Fr. James’ memory to:
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit
2625 Highway 212 SW
Conyers, GA 30094
Attn: Abbot Augustine