Fr Stephen List died suddenly on the evening of 21 May 2001. He had been undergoing chemotherapy for about a year, but was claimed in the end by a cardiovascular attack, probably a massive blood clot, an old enemy dating back thirty years. His last day included a trip to Tullamarine airport to pick up his sister, Margaret, who was coming for a week’s stay; a meal along the way and his last parking fine; accompaniment of Vespers on the organ; and the evening meal in the guesthouse with Margaret. His death occurred within minutes of leaving her.
A very large crowd of family and friends joined us for his funeral Mass. We thank them and all those who wrote or phoned at the time. Dom Brian Keogh, abbot of our New Zealand Cistercian community, attended and provided the musical accompaniment for a good liturgy. Archbishop Denis Hart spoke briefly and movingly at the conclusion of the Mass.
Fr Stephen was born at Haberfield, Sydney on 2 October 1932, son of Raymond Leon List and Kathleen McMahon. He was christened Kevin Leon. Margaret was his only sibling but he had a close relationship with his nieces and nephew. His family lived in and operated the Stein Hotel, Manly, from about 1938. Manly was definitely his emotional home turf. His primary and early secondary schooling was given by the Christian Brothers at Manly. He spent the final two school years with the Jesuits at Riverview. He earned Bachelor Degrees in Arts and Law at Sydney University. He was Associate to Justice Jock McClemens for some years. Many of his humorous stories were drawn from memories of this experience. He was admitted to the Bar in the late 1950s.
Fr Stephen entered the community at Tarrawarra on 29 March 1959. He made his first vows on 7 May 1961, and his final monastic commitment three years later on the same date. His ordination to the priesthood took place at Tarrawarra on 7 October 1967. From 15 May 1969 to 21 April 1972, he was overseas studying for two years at the Gregorian University in Rome for a Masters Degree in Theology. During the northern summers of 1969 and 1970 he also fitted in courses in liturgical music at Manhattanville College in New York. During this otherwise enriching time overseas he suffered his first two blood clots.
Fr Stephen held many positions in the community: novice master, prior, organist, guest master, spiritual director, retreat master, printer, and very committed rose gardener. He served the Order as English language secretary to a meeting, in Japan, of what would now be called the Central Commission, and worked extremely hard at the 1996 General Chapter when he was delegate from the Asian-Pacific Region. He was approached in the early nineties about the possibility of serving on the Abbot General’s Council in Rome. He served houses of the Australian and New Zealand Benedictine Union in the area of liturgical music and as a Co-Visitor. His services in this latter capacity also took him to the Philippines.
Fr Stephen belonged at various times to the Abbot’s Council, the Liturgy Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Economy Review Group. He was the first manager of our new Eucharistic Breads Business, putting much energy into getting it up and running. The Tarrawarra Newsletter was Stephen’s creation in December 1967. Except for the few years he was overseas for studies, he was its editor. It faltered during the year of his treatment for cancer, but, ironically, he had an issue at the printer’s at the time of his death. Many have expressed their appreciation of the Newsletter over the decades.
Fr Stephen’s death leaves many holes to be filled, but we know that he would want us to get on with it. Not least, we miss him as a brother and friend. May he enjoy the reward of his labours.