Abbot Xavier, born in Boston and baptized, Francis Xavier Connelly, entered the Abbey in 1973 after high school which he attended at Saint Benedict’s. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Abbey as well. Together with eight of his brother monks, he professed vows on September 8, 1981. He attended Providence College Graduate School for a year before entering Saint John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts to begin studying for the priesthood.
In 1987, he was sent to Rome to complete his education for priesthood. While residing at the Benedictine Collegio di Sant’ Anselmo, he studied first at the Pontifical University of Sant’ Anselmo (S.T.B., 1988) and then at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (M.A., 1989). He was ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1989 in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Saint John Paul II.
At the Abbey, Fr. Xavier has served as guestmaster and novice master, but his main work for many years was as Prior to Abbot Gabriel Gibbs, O.S.B., our first abbot. In this capacity, especially as Abbot Gabriel’s health declined, Fr. Xavier “inherited” many of his responsibilities. After Abbot Gabriel’s death on March 27, 2010, the community voted Fr. Xavier to be the Abbey’s second abbot on June 16, 2010.