Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Father James Behrens, OCSO, far right, stands at the altar during the June 28 ordination at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, for two of his brother monks. Before entering the monastery in 1994, he was a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark for over two decades. Father Behrens was an author, a contributing columnist to various faith-based and secular publications and an avid photographer. He died at the age of 71 on Aug. 15.


Father James S. Behrens, OCSO, Trappist monk and author, dies August 15

Published August 16, 2019

CONYERS—Father James Stephen Behrens, OCSO, a monk at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit died on Thursday, Aug. 15 as a result of complications from a lung biopsy procedure. He was 71 years old.

A monk of 25 years and a priest of 45 years, he served as a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark for more than twenty years before entering the monastery in 1994.

Father Behrens 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 a frequent contributor to the Rockdale Citizen newspaper and various other publications.

Father James Stephen Behrens, OCSO
Photo By Michael Alexander

Father Behrens 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. His writings reflect 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 Behrens 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, North Carolina, Peter Behrens (Bonnie) of Troy, Michigan and godmother Mary Dwyer of Brooklyn, New York. Father Behrens was a loving uncle to three nephews and five nieces.

The celebration of the funeral Mass and the burial will be on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 10 a.m. at the monastery church.

Condolences and memorial offerings may be sent in Father Behrens’ memory to The Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Highway 212 SW, Conyers, GA 30094, to the attention of Abbot Augustine Myslinski.

To read the columns of the late Father James S. Behrens, visit the The Georgia Bulletin commentary page.