Published March 3, 2023
CONYERS—Brother Elias Marechal, OCSO, a monk of the Cistercian (Trappist) Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, died in the monastery infirmary on Saturday, Feb. 25. Brother Elias, a monk of 30 years, was 86 years old.
The celebration of the funeral Mass and the burial was Thursday, March 2, at the Monastery Abbey Church.
Brother Elias was born July 11, 1936, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Leandre Marechal and Carmen Valenzuela Marechal. He was predeceased by his parents, his older siblings Alyce O’Brien of Covington, Louisiana, and Rene Marechal of São Paulo, Brazil, two nieces and a nephew. He is survived by seven nieces and nephews, their children and numerous cousins in the U.S., Mexico, Belgium and Brazil.
Brother Elias, then Paul Marechal, was featured in a New Orleans newspaper at age 2 for being trilingual (English, Spanish, and French). He later learned Russian. Brother moved with his parents from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., where he attended high school while his father worked as an attaché for the Belgian Embassy. He later attended Georgetown University and the University of Notre Dame and taught high school at St John’s College in Washington. He also taught at a Catholic high school in Covington before entering the monastery in Conyers.
Brother Elias was devoted to his mother, Carmen. He was an avid sports fan of the Atlanta Braves and Notre Dame football after moving to Conyers.
Brother Elias entered Berryville and Gethsemaini briefly before he finally entered the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, in 1993. He made his solemn profession in 1999.
During his 30 years of monastic life, he served the community as vocation director and novice master. He was an enthusiastic member of the schola with a beautiful tenor voice.
He was a great retreat presenter and the author of the spiritual books “Dancing Madly Backward: Journey Into God” and “Tears of an Innocent God: Conversations on Silence, Kindness, and Prayer.”
Condolences and memorial offerings may be sent in Brother Elias’ memory to: The Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2625 Highway 212 SW, Conyers, GA 30094 to the attention of Abbot Augustine Myslinski.