John Goldring, SSJE


died 23 September 2016

Brother John Clayton Goldring, a member of our North American Congregation, died on 23 September 2016 at Chatham, Ontario in the eighty-first year of his life and the thirty-seventh year of his religious profession.

Brother John was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1935 where his father was a branch manager of a bank. Shortly after Brother John’s birth the family moved to Chatham where he attended school. Following high school he worked first at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and later at Cedar Springs Hospital. Later he worked for thirteen years as a bookkeeper at Standard Equipment Supply Company. He came to our community at the Mission House in Bracebridge, Ontario in 1978, where he made his initial profession on 29 June 1980. For a time he served as the Assistant Superior of the Canadian Congregation. When the community withdrew from Bracebridge in 1983, Brother John and the other members of the community moved first to Hamilton, Ontario and then in 1984 to the monastery in Cambridge. Brother John held a number of positions in the community, notably sacristan and bursar. In the community, Brother John’s bookkeeping experience was put to good use, as he was the bookkeeper for both Camp Saint Augustine, our camp for inner city children and for St. Stephen’s Church in the South End of Boston, where he also did a great deal of parish visiting. In addition he was the bookkeeper for Cowley Publications and later Cowley and Cathedral Bookstore. Brother John was quite a shy man and was uncomfortable speaking in public, but his sermons were often short, direct and memorable. Because of their brevity, they were once described as telegrams from God and carried a simple, yet profound message of God’s love. His most memorable sermon, on the mercy of God, was both a sermon and a prayer in which he spoke briefly about God’s mercy and then repeated the word mercy a number of times, allowing the word to sink into his listeners’ hearts. Because Brother John’s immigration status was for a time uncertain, his life profession was delayed. He was finally life professed on 6 January 1989. When it became clear that he required more care than we could give him at the monastery, he returned to Canada where he could be near his family, and especially his twin sister, Jane. He died surrounded by pictures of the Mission House at Bracebridge, his icons and a photograph of our founder, Father Benson, to whom he was devoted.

The Brothers invite you to share your memories and messages:


  1. Gordon Walls on October 26, 2016 at 14:13

    Some fond memories of Br. John in his days at Bracebridge. May he Rest in Peace.

  2. James Pratt on September 28, 2016 at 12:19

    My personal encounter with Br. John was when I was exploring a possible vocation with SSJE, and he and I were sent off to have a conversation. We took a long walk along the banks of the Charles. We were similar in our quiet demeanors and being short and to the point, and much of the walk was spent in silence, simply enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. What came across was his quiet but confident joy in life and in being in God’s presence.

    • Gary Denniss on September 22, 2019 at 07:06

      The history and work of the SSJE in Bracebridge, ON, is mostly forgotten these days, but those, like myself, remember their spiritual and humanitarian ministry in Muskoka with deep appreciation.

  3. Anne Ritchings on September 25, 2016 at 20:20

    I remember John’s quiet, steady presence at the Monastery. His presence was an anchor for those of us who came seeking silence so that we could better hear God. I give thanks for his life and his witness.

  4. Jack H Haney+ on September 24, 2016 at 19:38

    Go in peace Br John, a dear soul and lovely man.

  5. Jane Goldring on September 24, 2016 at 17:35

    Thankyou all for your kind words. i am glad i was there when he went to our lord. thanks

  6. David Carter on September 24, 2016 at 12:24

    I have nice memories of working with Br. John at the Neighborhood Action soup kitchen in the basement of St. John the Evangelist Church when I was a field ed. seminarian from EDS in the late 1990’s. John’s everpresent gentle smile made all the guests we served feel welcome and cared for. My condolences to the community.

  7. Harriet on September 24, 2016 at 12:03

    May he rest in peace.

  8. Sr. Elizabeth Ann Eckert, SSJD on September 24, 2016 at 10:26

    Our deepest sympathies from all of us in SSJD. We enjoyed having Brother John visit us with his twin sister at St. John’s Convent in Toronto for Christmas and St. John’s Day a couple of years. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

  9. The Reverend Canon Kevin Bothwel on September 24, 2016 at 10:20

    I echo comments above, he was a quintessential monk. A kind and quiet man whose depth one could not miss. May his soul and the souls of all those who depart in Christ, rest in peace.

  10. Will Smith, OSB on September 24, 2016 at 07:54

    May his memory be eternal.

  11. The Reverend Canon Kevin Robertson on September 24, 2016 at 05:19

    My condolences to the community and to the family of Br. John. May he rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.

  12. David Wang on September 24, 2016 at 01:26

    A Beautiful Soul . & God’s Precious Servant .

    A Life to emulate .

    Thank you , Brothers for sharing the daily wisdom with us . They help me in my life . And I am sure for many others .

    God Bless All .

  13. Emmanuel John Patras on September 23, 2016 at 22:31

    Sad… May he rest in peace and rise in Glory

  14. Vicki on September 23, 2016 at 21:42

    I am sorry for your loss of Brother John. Unfortunately I did not know him but share your sorrow and peace with his life lived with purpose and faith.

  15. Sylvia Gilman on September 23, 2016 at 21:30

    Brother John will remain for me the very memorable “quintessential monk,” with a simplicity and dedication that truly set him apart. I enjoyed many conversations with him over the years, and was always captivated by his warm humor, spiritual clarity, and that twinkle in his eye. My heartfelt condolences go out to the SSJE community and especially to his sister Jane.

  16. Andrew Devadason on September 23, 2016 at 20:59

    Thank God for his life and witness. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

  17. Joyce Morin on September 23, 2016 at 20:40

    You have my prayerful sympathy.

  18. j on September 23, 2016 at 20:36

    My prayers are with each of you at this time. I trust God to carry him all the way home with a celebration and that God grant each of you His peace.

  19. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas on September 23, 2016 at 20:24

    Thank you, Br. John, for your fervent, faithful search for God and for all the ways you blessed so many lives. May you rest in peace and rise in glory.

  20. gwedhen nicholas on September 23, 2016 at 20:17

    My condolences. It sounds as if he lived a good life.
    May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

  21. suzanne robinson on September 23, 2016 at 19:54

    My heart goes out to each and all of the Brothers at SSJE,
    for on this day, one of God’s beloveds and your Brother John
    has returned to God, through Christ in the power and grace
    of the Holy Spirit. May he share in the fullness of the irenic Peace of the Lord, which passes all understanding, and rise in
    Glory. When I close my eyes and remember his presence
    in the Chapel, I see a monk who is so sheer and self-
    effacing in his person, in his walk, and in his presence at
    table in the refectory. He seemed “utterly poured out.” Thank you Brother John for lifting the veil on Christ’s presence
    in you ~ an example for me of what it means to be “in Christ.” Thank you Jesus for taking him home and sparing him further suffering.
    Prayers of deepest sympathy and gratitude are sent to his sister, Jane, to all the Brothers at SSJE and to the Holy Spirit for leading him to Cambridge as a blessing to the community and all.

  22. Claudia Booth on September 23, 2016 at 19:15

    I am very sorry for your loss.

  23. ML Johnston on September 23, 2016 at 19:08

    Rest in PEACE with the Lord. You worked hard and have earned the rest. Your friends will sorely miss you.

  24. Martha Holden on September 23, 2016 at 18:48

    Br. John offered a sermon at Emery House some years ago that has stayed with me. Fortunately one of the novices had confided to me that the novices always listened with especial care to Br John’s offerings, so I did too. This sermon ended with three questions: How much do you love Jesus? How much do you love yourself? How much do you love your community?

    Those questions continue to help me find the ground I am standing on.

  25. Rev. Jennifer Phillips on September 23, 2016 at 18:29

    I always enjoyed greeting Br. John at the monastery. Over the decades he seemed steady, not veering from his course, reserved, courteous, a shy smile, a very few words. As a parish priest I know what a deep blessing to community are those members who are discreet, steady, pastorally kind, and of unshakable commitment. I give thanks for his good life and vocation.

  26. Friar Joshua CZM on September 23, 2016 at 18:24

    I share my sincere condolences for the passing on of our brother John. Grant him eternal rest, Oh Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. I count myself blessed to have met Br John , for through him I learnt much about simplicity, humility, and charity. Br John ran his race with a desire for Jesus. Pray for us my Br , that we continue to forge on keeping focused upon Christ as our sole goal .

  27. Margo on September 23, 2016 at 18:15

    Dear Brothers, May I offer my condolences. I missed him when he went back to Canada. Once in the late 80’s I think, there was a sudden dump of snow at the monastery 8″ or more. He was out there shovelling and I asked to help. Not a word was spoken until we were done then simply “Thank you” but ever afterwards if he saw me he would acknowledge my presence with a lift of eye brow, the hint of a smile. Enough to make the many formidable older men then there not quite so forbidding. Thank you Br. John. He was a preach the gospel use words if necessary man. Margo

  28. The Rev. Suzanne (Sue) Redfern-Campbell (formerly Spencer) on September 23, 2016 at 17:46

    “Quintessential monk” is exactly the phrase I would use to describe Brother John Goldring. One memory that stands out for me is his ringing the chapel bell up at Emery House.

    May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

  29. Steve Macchia on September 23, 2016 at 17:40

    The entire Macchia family gives thanks to the Lord for John’s faithful life and service to so many…we are grateful recipients of his daily prayers for our son Nate during the many years he faced multiple surgeries at Children’s Hospital in Boston during critical growing up years. John’s ongoing prayers, simply by mentioning Nate’s name during daily prayers at the monastery, were always a great encouragement to our weary souls…may he rest in peace. With very thankful hearts, Steve, Ruth, Nate, Ashley and Rebekah Macchia

  30. Frank on September 23, 2016 at 17:29

    When I remember John Goldring, I remember walking down Emery La to the river with him and Duke one late summer evening. The fireflies were everywhere in the orchard and the meadows,band Duke was running after them, snapping, trying so hard to catch one of the little lights in his mouth. Br. John was so quietly delighted by Duke’s attraction and we walked on to the river, happy and enchanted.

  31. Christie Olsen on September 23, 2016 at 17:23

    Prayers of thanksgiving for Br. John’s life and witness and for all my brothers. May he rise in glory.

  32. Tom Peltz on September 23, 2016 at 17:07

    John was a lovely man, as his sister is a wonderful person with a great, kind smile. I had the pleasure – at different times meeting each of them – he at Emery House, and she next to me in the chair durning prayers at Cambridge.

    Please pass along my sympathies to both her and to you Brothers for your loss.

  33. Philip Gunyon on September 23, 2016 at 16:55

    As one who now lives in what was once the Refectory of the SSJE Monastery in Bracebridge, I note the passing of John Goldring with a special sympathy. Being an active member of St. Thomas’ here in town, deepens my sense of knowing the significance of the building in which I live and of the services the men of this mission provided the people of Muskoka for so many years.
    I hope that Brother John’s pictures of the Mission House at Bracebridge will be carefully preserved, possibly at the archives of the Diocese of Algoma at Algoma University in Sault Sainte Marie.
    Each time I pass the SSJE cemetery just down the street, I think of the sixteen people resting there, some of whom were probably known by Brother John. Finally, I extend my sympathy to John’s sister and any other of his family members.
    May he rest in peace.

    • Norman Newbery ( on January 30, 2021 at 11:20

      Hello Philip,
      My name is Norman Newbery. I was brother Norman for 12 years at the SSJE in Bracebridge (from 1970 until 1982). I was Bursar, Cellarer, Printer’s Assistant, and Assistant Superior. However my part that I most enjoyed was caring for Fr Frith and Fr Garrard when they needed assistance getting out of bed, bathing and getting to the washroom. Bro John and I shared this work. Fr. Frith especially was filled with thanks that we did this for him because it enabled him to continue living with the community.

      I was interest to learn that you live in the Refectory. I would be thrilled to see some pictures of how it was renovated to accommodate you. I also have a friend who is an architect who asked to see it.

      You may know some of my family if you went to St. Thomas’. My favourite Aunt ( my mother’s eldest sister) was Alice Hincks (nee Prowse). She married Canon Francis Hincks at St. Thomas’ in 1915. Her Brother Gordon Prowse owned the marina at Beaumaris for many years. Aunt Alice’s youngest son John went to school in Bracebridge.

      What also helped start this, a friend of mine sent me pictures of the interior of the SSJE chapel after it had been converted to a home. Last night I was able to download pictures of The Monastery Bed and Breakfast. Please email me directly if you wish…or you can find me on Facebook.

  34. Jack Zamboni on September 23, 2016 at 16:40

    I did not know Br. John well, but I am saddened for the Community to have lost another brother after the other losses in the recent past. May he rest and peace and rise in glory, and may you all find comfort in your grief.

  35. Rosamond Hooper-Hamersley on September 23, 2016 at 16:33

    Br. John Goldring was such a sweet, dear priest and I will remember him and all of his brothers and family in my prayers.

    Rozzy Hooper-Hamersley

  36. Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook on September 23, 2016 at 16:32

    I will always remember John’s kindness and faithfulness. may he rest in peace and rise in glory!

  37. Mike Stevens on September 23, 2016 at 16:31

    Bless his heart and soul. I always remember John as a man of depth and simplicity. He will be in my prayers.

  38. Elsie on September 23, 2016 at 16:31

    Thank you for sharing Brother John’s story. His family and your community will be in my prayers as you grieve his death and celebrate his life. Blessings.

  39. Pam Werntz on September 23, 2016 at 16:31

    Praying for you all as you mark the completed life and ministry of your dear Brother. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

  40. Bobbi Patterson on September 23, 2016 at 16:28

    I have very warm memories of Brother John. He was quiet and somewhat reserved; but, sometimes we would be sharing some dish-related task when I was a guest and he would chat – in his quiet and short-sentence way. I always knew he took each retreatant into his prayers. I felt that..and I did find his direct, plain sermons to be clear pointers to insight. They felt so authentic – that was the insight. bobbi patterson, Atlanta

  41. Roy Cockrum on September 23, 2016 at 16:23

    Much love to Jane. Rest well Br. John.

  42. Jude Smith on September 23, 2016 at 16:23

    Dear Brothers, I’m sorry to hear of Br. John’s passing. During my time in the monastery, he always had a smile on his face and could light up the room with his laughter. May light perpetual shine upon him.

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