Br. Tom Shaw – Please share your memories
M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE
August 28, 1945 – October 17, 2014
With great sadness, the SSJE community announces that our brother Tom Shaw died on October 17 at SSJE’s Emery House, in the care of his Brothers. Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE’s Superior, said, “Our brother Tom said during his last days he was so very, very thankful for the life God had given him: for the many wonderful people he had met, for the opportunities and challenges he had faced, and for the amazing grace he had experienced throughout his life.”
Br. Tom was diagnosed with brain cancer in May 2013 and continued active in his role as Bishop of Massachusetts until his retirement on September 13, 2014. He came to SSJE in 1975, having previously served as a parish priest. He served as the Superior of the SSJE community from 1982 until 1992. In September 1994 he was consecrated Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Br. Tom was a man of deep prayer, a charismatic figure who connected easily with young and old alike, and an effective leader who helped shape SSJE’s life and ministry. He was known for his sometimes-mischievous sense of humor, his tenacious courage, and his passion to serve Jesus, both among the privileged and the poor.
The Brothers invite you to share your memories and messages:
Test Comment 2 (HS)
I am grateful to Tom for his friendship and kindness since we were at GTS. I visited him un Milwaukee when he was a curate, in England when he was at Higham Ferrars, and in Cambridge when he was a novice with SSJE. Not long after that he was my novice master there and helped me see that I did not have a vocation to the religious life — I am particularly grateful for a guided retreat in the spiritual exercises at Emery House and introducing me to Manhattans made with Jack Daniels, both experiences I gladly draw on still! When I was working on Capitol Hill I encouraged Tom to consider a sabbatical there because of his commitment to social justice and public policy based on what in those days I would have called Christian Socialism. He flourished in his sabbatical in Amo Houghton’s office. I admire Tom for standing up for the Palestinians and protesting against the violations of their rights, knowing that would not be well-received by everyone in Boston. He had his faults but was well-aware of his defects of character and was propmt to offer an aplogy for anyone he njured or offended because he had a deep and loving affection for his brothers, his friends and all the faithful who were and are still inspred by his example.
Tom came to the El Hogar orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras as a volunteer for about a month. He was interested in the home for boys and the agricultural school, and was impressed with our “high church” (built in the trees the boys loved to climb). He would spend hours with the boys, talking with them in Spanish and encouraging them to share with him the dreams they had for their lives.
The Episcopal Diocese of Honduras had just a few copies of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer in Spanish during those years. We used a booklet of the 1979 Eucharistic rite printed for local use. After he returned to Boston, Tom arranged for prayer books in Spanish to be sent to all of the churches in the missionary diocese. It was a welcome gift and wholly unexpected.
Still thinking of you Tom. Still missing you.
Bishop Tom still inspires me. His physical being is profoundly missed but his spirit and presence stays with me to this day. Thank you.
Although I met Bro. Tom several times at the Monastery in Cambridge (most poignantly in September 2013), ten meeting I most cherish is a chance encounter I had when I was serving at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town (2003-06) Bishop Tom was just passing through the Mother City during a pilgrimage through Africs. We chatted about his wonderful experince on the continent, I remarked about the fond memories I have of the Monastery. We both expressed hope that the travails of the Anglican Communion would eventually pass, and that even in times of tension the bonds of affection and mission were still present in certain places.
Tom was a bright star in my universe when I worked at Cowley Publications with Cynthia and Jeff from 1986-88. We all looked forward to the time each day when he would visit us in our basement offices at the monastery. Typically, he had just been out for a run along the Charles River. He made us laugh out loud, big belly laughs. He brought joy and perspective to our daily work lives. I came to Tom’s consecration as Bishop. It struck me then that it is a good world we live in when a man such as Tom is elected Bishop of Massachusetts. Tom, I will remember you as a delightful human being with strong intelligence and humor. One of the very best I have known. Elizabeth
I well remember driving up from New York to Boston for the funeral of Tom’s predecessor, David Johnson. David had preceded me as a priest at a southern parish where it was clear there was a long pattern of boundary violation. I had David and Jodie down for the sesquicentennial of the parish and liked both of them immediately. Then, when the pattern emerged and those in authority could not or would not take steps to confront David who was by then bishop of Massachusetts, David as we all know, took his own life. So, I felt I needed to go to his funeral and I drove up in a sleet storm and then stood in Copley Square while the funeral was broadcast on loud speaker to all outside. Tom, who was coadjutor, preached the sermon and his litany during that sermon was, “The resurrection is already underway!” I found his words enormously comforting and I knew on that day that the diocese was in good hands. At the reception following the funeral, the Sisters of St. Margaret and the SSJE brothers moved quietly through the traumatized crowd of mostly diocesan folk, binding up wounds and caring for all. It was a splendid moment of gospel-living, right in the jaws of grief. After the funeral, Tom and the brothers at SSJE allowed Jody and the family to stay at the monastery as their home was a crime scene. I am certain that Tom’s resurrection has been “underway” for some time, and I thank God for his witness.
I remember Tom best for his God-given compassion in his words spoken and hugs given (along with Tom’s colleague, Barbara Harris) after the shocking suicide of his predecessor. Those dark days in the Diocese were brightened by Tom’s daily care for his clergy and congregations over twenty years, the length of time he promised. Tom’s deep commitment for the education of our youth was exemplified by his personal visits to the struggling formerly mill cities of the Commonwealth where the public schools were in dire need of reform. As my pastor, Tom celebrated my 97 year-old father’s Requiem Memorial Eucharist, sharing his own concerns about the After-Life. Tom brought to the Diocese so many riches from his monastic life, outwardly manifested in Eucharistic vestments, smells and bells with a piety and joy for chant and all things musical. Thank you SSJE Brothers for sharing Tom with us. I envision a perpetual party in the heavenly realm with Tom still sharing his God-given gifts of hospitality and compassion. Tom would remind us of Saint Paul’s admonitions to be hopeful and not to grieve for long the passing of one who was a friend to so many on this earth-bound pilgrimage.
As a member of the Roman Catholic Community I have a special affinity for Brother Tom. For many years I received the Societies’s magazine…..I have read his words, I was so struck by his eulogy, his total belief in the centrality of Christ and His Resurrection. I pray TO him as one in the Community of Saints. His deep prayer life and his total concern for the Other has edified me beyond words.It is something I often meditate on.May he know the absolute Love that Jesus had for him, may he pray for us all, and my condolences to the Brothers he lived with and served so well.May all of you experience the Presence of his Spirit in the community…….a palpable one! Respectfully Anne Marie Bourassa,
I am saddened to learn of Tom’s passing, and I know he will be deeply missed by his Brothers and the wider SSJE Family, ( a whanau I am proud to have shared during my own pilgrimage ). Tom guided his community through some difficult changing times and always saw the vision ahead – places where much of the Church didn’t, and doesn’t, want to go. The courage to stand by his own visions and dreams remains for me a lesson I carry with me, I hope for ever.
I remember Bishop Tom telling Tim and I stories about his family and “Shaw camp”. He surprised me with humor one Sunday, behind me in procession I heard him singing, Mary I forgot what hymn we are on, and I sang him the answer. I loved God’s sense of humor in that moment. Now he is fully cloaked in God’s embrace. Rev. Dr. Mary J. Korte
Br. Tom was a true inspiration to all, even those of us who didn’t know him personally. He was a living saint and an exemplar of Christian virtue.
It is my most blessed privilege to serve in Boston under Tom’s leadership for 16 years. He was able to keep a spiritual dimension while fulfilling his administrative duties. When he made a decision, I could always sense that it was linked to the teaching of our faith. He was a good listener.
When he visited my congregation and met the leaders and members, he dropped down every person’s idea and responded respectfully. Whenever I brought concerns and ideas about my congregation to him in his office, he usually gave his support and asked further what else he could help me.
We did not have the same perspective towards various issues, but he did show his respect and accepted our disagreement. He cared about people especially the youth. I notice a number of young people, including my daughter, have become firmly committed to serve our Lord in their life journey after joining the Youth Leadership Academy and Diocesan Youth Council. Tom was not only the initiator and reinforcement behind those two ministries, but also personally participated in many events.
I am blessed to witness closely that like Paul, Tom had fought a good fight, he had finished his course, he had kept the faith.
A remarkable man who gave us all the opportunity to experience the gift of clarity that often comes with a terminal diagnosis. On this day before All Saints Day, the words of that sweet old hymn:
“I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” and that final line:
“They’re all of them saints of God and I mean God helping to be one too”
Thank you for sharing the service homily. I am so touched by all the words here. I didn’t know Br. Tom, but I encountered him at the end of his life. My husband and I were spending a weekend at Emery House and Tom was there with his sister and brother-in-law. I didn’t know that Tom was dying but I did see a beautiful light shining through his eyes. At the Sunday lunch, he told me that he was one of the brothers but that he had forgotten to wear his habit! My prayers are with him for peace and with all the brothers who mourn him and will continue to feel his presence and his shining light for many years to come. Blessed be.
Arriving for retreat at the Cambridge house, rainy, gloomy day, shortly after his episcopal election. He was driving out as I drove in, and his cassock was hanging out the door of his car. I had the fun of saying, “Bishop, your dress is hanging out the door!”
No doubt Br. Tom is with all the saints today as he prays for, supports, and cheers us on as we run our individual races in this life (as Br. David wrote in today’s Brother, Give us a Word). He ran a very good race, and he will be missed by us who are still running. To me, Tom seemed “reasonably happy in this life,” may he be “supremely happy with [Christ, and all the saints] forever in the next. (Reinhold Niebuhr, Serenity Prayer).”
When I was going through a rough patch and had suffered a setback, I went on a retreat at S.S.J.E. on Memorial Drive (I was a member of the Fellowship of St. John). Br. Tom had recently become the Superior, and invited me to sit at the head table. During lunch, he spoke very kind words of understanding and encouragement to me. I have never forgotten that moment and remain thankful to have known Br. Tom. I always loved his sermons at the Tuesday Eucharist, and had an enormous respect for his warmth, intellect and deep spirituality.
His was a life through which shone the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Br. Tom, pray for us.
I never was at a retreat led by +Tom; but the last time I saw him, several months ago, he preached and celebrated in the early evening for a small gathering. His voice was a little softer, his manner a little gentler; his thoughts just as sensitive. When it was over, I said to myself, “I have just been on a retreat led by Tom. I’m sure glad I didn;t miss it.”
Complex people have complex relationships. (How could they not?)
I think of my many encounters with Tom, remember his curiosity and the times when the demands of his office were clearly visible in his face and manner, but remember best our last meeting outside the Monastery gates when he greeted me and asked for prayer. He was quintessentially present and I believe it is that man who will continue to enliven and challenge us even as he now goes from strength to strength elsewhere.
It is so sad to hear about Br Tom’s untimely death. I remember so vividly his energy & laughter and at the same time his contemplation & faithfulness. One of my abiding images is during Lambeth 1998, when he was one of the few bishops who had no qualms to talk to demonstrators thus breaking through walls that the church had erected around herself. I think it all came from a deep, intimate, loving, and nurturing relationship with our triune God. And this love-affair continues even now. May Tom rest in peace and rise in glory.
During Advent of the late 70’s a young priest, a novice from SSJE came to my small parish in central New York at the invitation of the curate at Christ Church, Cooperstown. He took part in Evening Prayer, preached to a small rural congregation, shared a simple meal, joined in the Bible study and spoke briefly about monastic life and Religious Vocation.
At evening’s end Fr. Shaw leaned over to me and said “Julie, why don’t you get someone to take care of your horses & dogs and come East to visit us?” Maybe I will, Father.”
Jesus said “Come” ‘Follow me” “Come and see” go ye into the world and preach” Tom did as Jesus did. I responded to his invitation. Thanks be to God! Thus began, for me, a journey in the monastic life .
With thanksgiving & gratitude for Tom Shaw as an Apostle for Jesus,
for his presence in my life these 36 years as a sister of St Margaret.
May his words continue to be heard. ” You have caused the light of the gospel to shine throughout the world:
I was about ready to start my second year of seminary, and my wife and I had just suffered a big loss for us. Tom called me on my cellphone as I was sitting on a bench in a park. He was calm, and soothing, and honest. He gave me his cellphone number and said I can call him whenever I needed to talk. That simply amazed me, this Bishop of Massachusetts calling me to console me. I truly thought of him then as my pastor. And I’ve got that now.
In so many crucial moments of my life, Tom was there. As a seminarian at EDS in the early 80’s, Tom’s preaching and his direction made me want to be a person of prayer. As a priest serving in his diocese, he called out of me new gifts and insights I had not experienced in three decades of ordained life. May his rest now be in peace, and his rising in glory.
We first came to know and to love Brother Tom in 1992. The realization came to us both in an instant: “Here is someone who truly and authentically walks the talk!” And in the years since, through letters and conversations and visits, that understanding has deepened. “Trust,” he taught us. Quietly, gently, persistently he has continued to “Point the Way” by word and by living example. Our lives have been changed and blessed by knowing and loving Brother Tom. With gratitude, Bob and Ginger Riggins
I just posted my remembrances of Tom in my blog. There are so many things one could write about. Tom blessed so many people in so many different ways. Thank you brothers of SSJE for your care of Tom. I think that has been a comfort to many of us to know that he was surrounded by so much love and support all the way through. God’s peace and blessing to you all. https://www.massformation.org/home/remembering-bishop-shaw
There are no words… only heartfelt prayers.
I am so grateful to have known Brother Tom for nearly thirty years, and for all the ways in which he was a spiritual mentor and inspiration to me and to so many, many people. It was a privilege to have known him. My prayers are with his brothers as they mourn.
Tom became bishop when I was an undergraduate at Tufts, trying to figure out how I fit into the Church and God’s embrace. Over the next twenty years, Tom figured greatly in my life, as I began attending the Cathedral Church of St. Paul and, at his urging and support, helped spark a young adult ministry service along with Jep Streit and others. Later, at a friend’s wedding reception where he officiated, he trained his laser eyes on me, and said very slowly, “Who are you? Where have you come from?” And we began a dialogue about calling, including an important face-to-face meeting with him where he seemed to know the questions in my heart before I could even utter them, and put me in touch with brothers at SSJE who could continue to listen to and mentor me. A gentle touch. Later, as an employee for the diocese in Christian Formation, I remember a staff Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday morning, when Tom, now my boss and clad in black, turned to me with ash smeared on his forehead, and touched mine.
Even when I left the diocese to follow God’s call to California, Tom figured in my mind and heart through the written word, as I uncovered a vocation to be a writer and reflect on the boundaries of the secular and the sacred, painting several pictures of my interactions with Tom and what he represented to me. These were dynamic, not static, visions, and I was grateful when we were able to reconnect in the flesh, whether it was when he visited Pittsburgh, PA, where I now live, to support the consecration of Bp. Dorsey McConnell, or when I returned to the diocese on Tremont Street months later to embrace him and tell him I had written a personal essay about the “Eschaton”–just weeks before his brain surgery and sudden diagnosis.
Last spring, sick and stressed from my job as a college writing professor and stuck in bed, I listened to Tom’s reflections on loneliness through a Youtube clip. As he spoke to me through the screen, it was like we were in his office on the Fifth Floor of the diocese again, except this time, I was listening, not talking. I was hearing his voice and, through him, hearing God’s voice. In that empty space, I began to receive. When the clip ended, I started writing.
I remember meeting tom for the first time and how kind he was to me. i would go over and spend a couple of weeks with john and we were able to stay out at emery house and at the monastery. i will remember all the brothers in my prayers to-morrow when i do my office. thanks for letting me know i will share this with john. tom was a true christian and i certainly looked up to him.
I first met Tom when he preached at a colleagues Institution in St. Paul, around 1989, and a few times after that. When I moved to Michigan, I was near his birthplace (Battle Creek, because Coldwater in 1944 didn’t have a hospital for obstetrics!), and a parishioner had gone to jr. high with him! It was in 2002 that I had a wonderful chat with him after a very warm (humid) Eucharist at EDS’ chapel during the NNECA conference there. He was his usual non-anxious self and spoke eloquently. When I recalled our previous meetings and told him I had served in Marshall, Michigan, his eyes lit up and he talked with me as though he’d known me all my life. Uncanny! And a blessing.
“May choirs of angels receive you Bishop Tom…” “et cum Lazaro, quondam paupere …”
Bishop Tom walked the holy walk with dignity, humility and a deep and evident love for God and God’s children. His preaching invited you into a conversation with our Creator that was made all the more powerful by its conversational simplicity. He was a true shepherd.
I mostly remember Tom as a young pup of a priest and monastic. His habit would swish in the breeze as he walked through the grounds of Emery House or Episcopal Divinity School. He was a good teacher and a good friend.
Fr. Tom Shaw attended my priestly ordination at the Church of the Advent on Beacon Hill, December 19th, 1980. I was a young, unimportant cleric and was so touched by his presence. Then at the door, greeting the guests, he knelt before me and asked for my blessing, the first priestly blessing that I ever gave, and tears came to my eyes at his kindness. Rest in Peace, my friend.
I’m grateful that four months ago at an Emery House workday in that very relaxed dining room to have finally talked with Bishop Tom during the in-between, unhurried moments waiting for the table to be set for lunch — after six years of being too awed to approach him myself. It was easy! I can’t forget the silence before the first office of the day at the monastery the morning of October 17. Deep comfort in their sorrow for the brothers, his family, and all who mourn and miss their friend. And continuing joy and wonder for his life.
Being in the presence of Bishop Shaw was truly a religious experience. You could feel God working through him. We were all so lucky to have known such a holy man. He was a marvelous example of a true Christian. My husband Sam joins me in sending our prayers to the Brothers of SSJE and the Bishop’s family.
Claire S. Cabot
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Beverly Farms, Ma.
Now that Tom has gone to be with Jesus. There is a brighter morning star in the heavens and more joy in God’s Kingdom than on earth. Tom was a friend for more than 40 years. I remember the three: Tom, Martin and James what great musketeers for Jesus. Go softly frienf and know you will missed by many, but we shall remember that those who live in the Lord never see each other for the last time.
Dear SSJE Brothers, I add my love and prayers to those of multitudes in the death of your Brother Tom Shaw. Early in my vocation in the Order of St Helena, I visited the Cambridge monastery and saw Br Tom walking through an adjoining room, stopping to greet several people. Just to see him pausing next to someone, listening, responding, then moving on was a sermon in itself. I had been told he was “the real thing” as a monastic; what I witnessed was humility, simplicity, and joy–nothing false or discordant about him. I felt I was seeing true Grace in motion. That “sighting” of him was a living witness to me of the way Jesus must have moved among the people of his time who wanted a word, a look, a moment with him. I thank God for his life, and for all of you. Blessings and Peace.
One of my first memories of Bishop Tom was when he came to St. Andrew’s, Wellesley, towards the beginning of his episcopacy. My youngest son saw him standing by himself and walked up to him and asked, “Why are you wearing a dress?” I remember Bishop Tom laughing, but he also used it as a teaching moment and answered the question about why bishops wear what they do. I will always remember Bishop Tom’s great love for children and young people, and I’m so glad that we have the Barbara C. Harris Camp, as a result of his vision. Holding you brothers in prayer, and giving thanks for the life of Tom Shaw.
To the Brothers of SSJE: Thank you for your love of and caring for Br./Bp. Tom. In the days and months to come, may our Lord comfort each one of you by flooding your hearts and minds with memories of good times spent with Br./Bp. Tom.
Christianity, The Anglican Church, The Diocese of Massachusetts; SSJE and the city of Boston have all lost a
great light. It was never my privilege to know or correspond
with Br./Bp. Shaw. However I do have a well worn audio
cassette of a retreat he gave. Also, I am an Associate of
The Order of Holy Cross. There have been several times
when I explored the possibility of God’s call to the monastic
life; family obligations became paramount. In my first inves-
tigation I (early ’90s) I came to know SSJE and Br./Bp. Shaw
through Cowley Magazine. It always struck me how Br./Bp.
Shaw gave so much of himself for the greater good and for
God but balanced that with physical acts(hiking/climbing)
or pottery. Though he rose to the heights of the church he
always remained humble. Now he has risen to be with our
I was a lay employee for Cowley Publications for twelve years, living at Emery House and the guesthouse in Cambridge for many of those years. I met Tom Shaw as my boss, and came to know him as a spiritual guide who helped me find my way into ordination (Presbyterian¬ – he did his best to lure me into the Episcopal Church… but I was too far gone.)
I remember fondly working and living with James M., Rusty, Martin, Carl, Curtis, Jonathan, David, James K., Eldridge, Paul, John, Bob (who did marriage counseling for my wife and I) and my Emery House comrade Bernard. All of these beautiful brothers – some of whom have passed on, or otherwise departed the community, I know are deeply connected to Tom and my prayers are with them and the many newer members of SSJE I haven’t met.
Tom officiated at the wedding for Georgia and me and blessed us with the gift of using Emery House as a place for our wedding reception. We will always be grateful to him for that gift and for the sound of the brothers SSJE singing the psalm as our vows were consecrated.
My favorite memory of Tom is driving out to Detroit for an Episcopal Church General Convention, just the two of us, in an old pickup truck carrying a load of Cowley books. Blistering hot, no AC, windows down blowing in stifling air, but a big grin on Tom’s face, wanting to hear everything you had to share in a twelve-hour ride in a hair dryer.
Bless you Tom Shaw. Thank you for being such a rock and a light for a young divinity student who – thanks to you – grew into a college chaplain.
I have been blessed to have met many wonderful people in my life, and Br. Tom was possibly one of the most wonderful. He was so profoundly alive to all of God’s offerings, and, it seems, was even alive to the cancer that would eventually take him from us. It seems to me that grief is merely bewildered love, seeking an outlet for expression that is no longer there. It is with all the love I can offer that I pray Br. Tom into the arms of God. But then, I know he was there all along. Until we meet again, farewell, Br. Tom. Go in peace.
A tribute for Brother Tom Shaw SSJE and you who loved him.
Three decades past I felt like a yellow flashing light.
Out of our quiet Brother Tom asked,
“What would Jesus want you to do?”
Over our tiny Cocoon fell Holy Silence
“Jesus would want me to love him.”
Calm Peace Renew from Carol Hartley Bellows
I cannot think of Brother Tom without the words “prayer and community” coming to mind. So a man of prayer amid multiple communities. To his fellow Brothers n family my deepest sympathy.
May you rest in Peace and rise in glory Brother Tom.
Dear Brothers, My heart goes out to you all at this time of grief at Bishop Tom Shaw’s death but there is also a grand sense of celebration of a huge life given without reserve into the hands of Christ and lived imaginatively, with verve and vast energy. I thank God for Tom who came into the the life of SSF in Auckland New Zealand in the early 1990’s when he stayed with us on holiday. He gave us the gift of his friendship. So it was with great rejoicing that we greeted his election as Bishop of Massachusetts in 1994.
May Tom Shaw rest in peace and rise in glory.
Bruce-Paul ssf The Hermitage, Stroud, NSW Australia
Our dear brother and bishop Tom is the reflection of God’s grace and goodness in our world. May he rest in peace.
I came to the monastery for retreats in the 80s and heard Tom preach a number of times; he had a knack for addressing things that I happened to be struggling through. I remain grateful for his insight and compassion, his wisdom, and his humor. I learned a lot about Incarnation from him. My heart goes out to the community and all who loved him. “Yet even at the grave we make our cry: Alleluia!”
In the 1980’s we were parishioners at St. Francis Church in Chicago where the brothers of SSJE had once had a mission. Br. Tom came for a brief visit and met for an evening of conversation with parishioners. I will always remember how kind and unpretentious he was as we talked about faith and doubt and people’s various callings. My condolences to the brothers and to all who will miss his grace-filled companionship.
I have watched the interview of Bp Tom four times now, and I am deeply moved every time by his strength, his understanding, and his realism. I only wish I could have a small share of his spirit.
For a few years I lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan while my husband was in graduate school and our daughter was born at U of M Hospital. When I learned that Bishop Shaw was from Michigan, I wrote him a short note telling him about my time living in MI and how much I loved it. Well, bishops are busy and I never dreamed I would get a response to that letter. But Tom wrote me back the most loveliest letter thanking me for my kind words and reflections about his native State. I was deeply touched by that. Since then I have had the privilege to hear Tom a number of times and each time I have taken away something new to challenge me in my own faith. I am filled with gratitude for his witness. All of the SSJE brothers are in my thoughts and prayers as they mourn the death of their Brother. Peace. Susan Charle
There are no words to express that I feel a giant has passed from among us. When I was young and had been newly appointed as the director of Camp St. Augustine, I was told that Tom was coming to visit. I was incredibly intimidated. That night there was to be a talent show, and the CITs in particular were focused on presenting an extremely loud, urban, and angry show. One young man got up and performed an amazing and threatening rap – welcomed by the cheers, table thumping and wild dancing of 100 boys. Tom turned to me and said, “You know, this is how I always wanted the camp to be.” That’s who he was ….forever young and open- hearted.
As a young divinity school student at Harvard, I arrived at SSJE when transition marked the community. Deeply loving and open, the brothers drew me through my journey with God and in the midst of that support, Tom eventually arose as the Superior. As i returned for retreats – am still returning – his steady and playful leadership deeply rooted in Christ’s compassion nourished the community forward and each of us who studied with and loved the community. I think of his clogs. I think of Sheba, the first dog I knew of in the Society. I think of young people crowding into the refectory for a sleep over with Tom in the crypt. I think many homilies – like banquets of wisdom. A beautiful large bowl – his pottery – that i bought 5 or so years ago at Emery House – lives in our home, prominent, as will his memory, always.
My humble prayers and condolences to the Brothers of SSJE. I had come to know Tom over the years and shared in his spiritual vision and sense of humor. He will be missed.
Tom is my brother:
I am a child in Rwanda,
I am a woman called by God to serve,
I am gay and look for a place in God’s church,
I am in need of courage and passion to serve Jesus.
I left the Jesuits to get married and at the urging of many sought the counsel of Bishop Tom Shaw. He listened to my story and said, “That must have been so hard for you.” I was deeply touched and burst into tears. My wife remembers the first time she saw him, he hugged her and said, “Kathy, I am so happy to meet you!” She felt the Spirit of God run up her back. In the midst of a difficult pregnancy, I watched Tom touch Kathy’s belly. It seemed like an eternity. We owe our son to him, I firmly believe this. I had the great joy of being on Diocesan staff, being received as an Episcopal priest, and being blessed by Tom to leave the Diocese of MA for the Diocese of NY… My family and I will always love this man. I also loved the way he loved Barbara Harris.
So sad to hear this. Br. Thomas shaw was the one that confirmed me into the Episcopal church and was the one that got me interested in working towards becoming a Christian monk. Thanks to his humility and great presence and the conversation about the order it has led me to finding an order that I feel like I fit in and hope the order feels the same way. We will all miss Br. Thomas Shaw but someday we will be united again with him in heaven.
I stand with and pray for the Community (and the Diocese and the broader church) as we mourn Tom’s passing and remember and celebrate the gift of his life. We will all miss him and look forward to joining him at the heavenly banquet in our own time. May God send us comfort and strength through the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Several years ago, when on retreat at Emery House, a gray
mug drew my attention. On its circumference were black
vertical and a tad off-center stick figures, and the following
scripture came to me. “I see men like trees walking.” Mark 8:24.
I purchased the mug and subsequently learned that Bishop Shaw was the potter.
Several years later, very early one morning, after a huge storm
the day before, I was walking on a beach in Kennebunk, Maine.
Looking down at the at the sand, I was caught up by the image of
exquisite, sparse limbs of trees, some about 6-8″ tall, the
design for each, uniquely patterned by waters receding out
into the ocean. Further along, there was a lotus blossom.
Water, sand and gravity had together joined to create this most delicate, ever-changing, hidden yet unveiling tribute to life.
In reflecting upon Bishop Shaw’s journey from strength to Strength,
through death to Life in the suffering, redeeming Love of God the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit, I cannot help but kneel and give thanks to the Lord for the mysterious wonder of the stick figures transfigured into the most sheer line drawings of trees and a lotus blossom, witnessing to Jesus’ promise, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Thank you dear Jesus for the river of Thy Love which summons
us ever onward. The great Potter of all, God the Father, set before
me through Bishop Shaw a mug, patterned, clarified and more
completely made known through nature’s own revealing. May
Bishop Tom go from strength to Strength in Thy loving service and
may he know to the depth of his being “Well done, good and
faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Mt 25:21
In silent love, I keep watch with you all,
Ever in gratitude and deepest most heartfelt sympathy,
I can only muster up the strength through the Holy Spirit to say that I have had the honor of being with and/or around Bishop Shaw on several occasions. He was always so humble, kind, and to me…the epitome of a model Christian serving our Lord Jesus. I will miss him, but out of this darkness…I am sure his light will shine bright.
“Grace and peace from G*D [Titus 1: 4].” ♡
Will and I send our love and prayers to all the Brothers and to all the Sisters of St Anne who will miss Tom so much – an early memory I have of Tom is his telling me that I would have to have something to “do” when I was a priest, something to create – to finish, as ministry was never finished. He showed me his pots and gave me a mug, that I treasure. I now paint and know that he was right; about so much. Tom blessed us all.
I was a frequent visitor at SSJE and a parishioner at the mission church in the early ’80s, and remember Fr. Tom well and fondly. I respected the way he led his flock in the early days of his episcopal ministry, with compassion and unusual transparency. It was a lesson to us all. May God rest his soul and make his memory to be eternal!
“O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the soul of Thy departed servant in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which he has committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin, for Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy word is truth.
For Thou are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servant who has fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen.”
I shall always be thankful for Tom Shaw’s solid support of Interfaith AIDS Ministry during my years as Executive Director 1990-2006. Consistent diocesan generosity greatly enhanced our ability to provide practical aid and pastoral care every year to hundreds of individuals and families in the Boston area at the request of hospital staff, other AIDS organizations, social workers, group homes and local government agencies. His caring (and the charity of many of our Episcopal parishes) alleviated the sufferings of so many people who were able to receive prompt assistance not provided by other agencies. God’s blessings are surely upon him and the brothers of SSJE!
I cherish the memory of a sermon from Br Tom on “Indiscriminate Love”. It has stayed with me for many years. Peace and blessings on all he has left behind.
Oh Tom, my heart aches. I am grateful that you are out of pain and in heaven with a host of the beloved especially your brother, James Madden; please give him my love and greetings.
I will continue to keep company with your devoted and loving brothers of the Society for St. John the Evangelist as they mourn, as do we, the enormous loss of you.
What a dear and funny and faithful and enchanting person you were — what a loving bishop you were, what a brave and constant priest and brother in your most beautiful SSJE you were . A hundred hugs and kisses to you in heaven, my ineffably kind and much-missed friend.
My friendship with Tom goes back to childhood in Michigan. After college, our paths crossed and recrossed, as we experienced graduate studies, jobs, adventures, his ordination and then 20 years ago his consecration as bishop. We were in touch at different stages in our lives and in different places–Ann Arbor, New York, Milwaukee, Boston. We didn’t see each other much in recent years but he was always in my prayers as he did the work to which he was so clearly called. He was one of the most insightful people I have ever known. He read people with acute precision. He knew so accurately their weaknesses and vulnerabilities and pain and he knew what they needed. Our lives are richer for having known him and we are all the poorer with his loss. But we are joyful as well, sure in the knowledge that he is embraced by love and peace.
I met +Tom only once at supper at Emery House long ago, but his charisma and humility were unforgetable even at what, I believe, was at a sad time in his life. I stayed aware of him and the wonderful ministry he had to his brothers, the local area, the Diocese of Massachusetts, and, really, to the whole world through a brother who has been a close friend to me and my late husband, through the FSJ, and the online presence of SSJE. We can rejoice for him that his pain and suffering have ended and that he sees God “face to face” and “not as a stranger.” But our hearts can still be broken at the loss of his presence among us. I pray for the brothers, his family, and all who have loved him at this sorrowful and joyful time. Be gentle with yourselves as you reconcile to life without him present among you. May Jesus’ love be especially present in your hearts to help and guide you.
I met Tom and the SSJE brothers in the early 1990’s when doing some photography for the monastery. We were all so much younger then! While a commuter student at EDS I spend a number of nights under the Guest House roof and treasured being part of the chapel life there. What a blessing the SSJE community has been to me. Thanks be to God for the life and ministry of Bp. Tom.
I met Father Tom Shaw in 1977 when I was a student at Harvard Divinity School. I am pained by how many of the brothers have since died from 1977 to the present including Brother James, Fr. Cure, Fr. Greenfield, Father David Clayton…the inimitable senior brothers and others. In the late 70s, the preaching of Shaw and Martin Smith seemed to reach a zenith that captured the souls of so many of us. I give thanks for their lives and the lives of all in SSJE, past, present, and future. When I keep the daily office, as I have since 1977, I feel the love of Christ and in Christ is reciprocated and will be until it finds its completion in the Triune Godhead, the glory that was witnessed by the beloved disciple.
Our heartfelt condolences to all the Brothers upon the death of Tom Shaw. We are grateful for Tom’s many years of faithful service to the Society and the broader Church community. We are especially thankful for his grace, his creativity, his sensitivity, his resilience, his wisdom, his leadership, and his willingness to address challenging and diverse issues. He struggled well and his final days on earth were fruitful for the Kingdom. May he rest in peace and may SSJE be blessed, sustained, and protected by the presence and power of God’s Spirit throughout this season of loss and grief. We are blessed by your ministry in all of our behalf. With prayerful hearts, Steve and Ruth Macchia
With deep gratitude to the Spirit for the gift of Tom.
Annie Dillard wrote ” I believe that the dying say at the last not “please” but “thank you” as guests say to the host at the door….Tom’s life reflected that gratitude in ways to many to even try and number. It was as if it were written in his DNA. He has been much on my mind this past week reminding me yet again that prayer grafts us into the heart of God in ways that are beyond what we can imagine much less understand. Gratitude is something we can take with us when we die and more assuredly it is something that remains when we must let go of what is mortal. It is with a full and sad heart that we commend Tom to the God whose love for him and for us mercifully is relentless. It needs to be when ” even at the grave we must make our song.” Thanks be to God for this man who reflected the Paschal light even as he has gone before us into its mystery. My prayers are with you dear brothers as you meet the days ahead.
We are thinking of the brothers at Emery House, our good neighbors. Brother Tom left on an October masterpiece of a day from a lovely home made even more special now.
Even though I was not present at the Consecration of Bishop Gates, and only watched on computer, I was struck by the strong presence of Bishop Tom at that service, and thought perhaps he was willing himself to be as strong as possible, until he could fully step down from the office of bishop.
I remember his visits to the Church of the Advent, and when he preached, made sure I sat near the front so I could hear his quiet voice. To me Bishop Shaw always exuded peace and tranquility even though I am sure he could not have felt such at all times.
I particularly appreciate his support — and that of many of the Brothers — for the Christians in Palestine, and his/your ministry at St. George’s College.
I am so sorry for the loss to SSJE, but am glad that the Community was able to be together for Tom’s transition to the next life.
With Condolences to all the Brothers
Although not an Episcopalian, I have long been inspired by Bishop Shaw. At an installation of a friend and colleague in Waltham, as we lined up to process in, he leaned to me with his genuine smile and asked, “Are you one of ours?” in the most loving and inclusive tone. When I said no, I’m Presbyterian, he smiled and said something affirming – the words I can’t remember -but the strong sentiment of inclusion and welcoming that pervaded his Christ-like being and in missing him and praying for our sister denomination, I give great thanks to God. May light perpetual shine.
Giving thanks through tears to the Holy One today for the gift of Br. Tom. I first met him in 1980 when he listened to my life in prayer and shared my concerns. His thoughtful and prayerful guidance have remained with me, inspiring me, at last, to give spiritual guidance. For your life, your sense of humor, your palpable love, your soulful companionship, I give thanks to God. Let light pertual shine upon you, Br. Tom.
I had a complicated relationship with Tom. However, it is through that relationship that began while wading together in the Artichoke River taking care of a little garden problem that I am a better priest and a better human being than I could possibly have become otherwise. May light perpetual shine upon you and may the heavenly ground hogs (finally) leave your cosmos alone. Blessings and condolences to his family and brothers.
I have a fond memory of Tom from the House of Bishop’s gathering at Kanuga some years ago. My suitcase was lost and I arrived with only the clothes on my back. Many bishops expressed concern about my lost bag. Tom said to me, “Jerry I think we are about the same size, let me share some of my clothes with you.” His was an act of vulnerable compassion. He offered to share with me what he had brought for himself. He lived his life that way. So to all of all of us who grieve his death he was like a pearl of great price. To the Brothers of SSJE, Ann and I offer our sorrow and prayers as we give thanks for the life of our brother Tom in Christ.
Deep and sincere condolences to his SSJE Brothers, his biological family, the colleagues who served with him most closely, and to all the rest of us who were his spiritual family. Even though we knew it was coming, the reality of it is heartbreaking.
I am one of the “Massachusetts Ten” — the first ten postulants accepted into the ordination process after +Tom became bishop. Everything I cherish most about my life in ministry now is a direct result of his pastoral influence. I wish I had had one more chance to tell him how much he meant to me. My very soul is broken open with grief, even as I know there are others who were much closer to him whose loss is beyond my understanding.
He is at peace. No more pain. Rejoicing in his resurrection body. Even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Tom was a strong spiritual force in my life. I am eternally grateful for having known him, his wise writings, and his wonderful sermons. His humble presence and extensive work in matters of social justice in our Diocese, our the country, and the world are a model of Christian values. Thank you, God, for giving us all the gift of Tom. May he rest in your eternal peace.
I didn’t really know Br. Tom, aside from exchanging “hellos” when visiting the Monastery, and hearing a few of his fine sermons. But a chance encounter with him in 2003 gave me a glimpse into his character, I think. I had showed up at the Empty Bell for the regular meeting of our UU clergy prayer group, just as Tom was concluding a visit with Robert and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. At that point, I’d had no face-to-face encounters with bishops and felt slightly intimidated. But Tom set me immediately at ease, extending his hand with a warm “Hi! I’m Tom Shaw!” It’s clear from reading the tributes before mine that this was just a small example of Tom’s way of being in the world – reaching out in God’s love to overcome barriers, and when necessary, working and struggling to overcome them.
Sending love to all th brothers.
My first memory of the man to whom I found I could only refer as “my brother, Tom” was his coming to where I was seated at a clergy gathering, part of the walk-about prior to his election,squatting before me, looking me intensely in the eyes, and quietly saying “I don’t know you. I need to know you.” I knew he meant every word of it. Spoken to me. Spoken, I’m sure, to his entire world. With ultimate caring. Small wonder our often fractious diocese spoke as one in electing him on the first ballot to be our bishop, and, tears of joy streaming down our cheeks, we sang the Te Deum. We give our brother Tom back to the God who gave him to us, with sad but thankful hearts that he was shared with us.
Dear Brothers–How sorry I was to learn of +Tom’s death. But his spirit will live on the the work of the Brotherhood and in all those whose lives he touched.
“With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Thy servant, where sickness and sorrow are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.”
An SSJE associate from the days of Fr. Granville Mercer Williams, I was so excited when Br. Tom Shaw became Bishop of Massachusetts. That was wonderful and so appropriate for both him and the Episcopal Church. God be praised for his tremendous accomplishments and service to Church, Diocese, community and the marginalized. As he is now in the nearer presence of a gracious and grateful God, may he rest in peace, and may you his dear brothers be both comforted and glad for him. My wife Terry, sometime secretary at St. John’s, Bowdoin Street, joins me in assuring you of our thoughts and prayers.
I was saddened by the news of Bishop Tom’s death. I remember a retreat that he and Martin Smith lead on Clergy Renewal. He was a wise counselor and spiritual director. May the Lord grant him eternal rest.
We first met Tom Shaw on a lazy Summer morning when he came for a Bishop’s visit at my church, the Parish of the Messiah in Auburndale. We were early and Tom had just arrived and was in the sanctuary. He approached my husband and I, extended his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Tom Shaw.” We were amazed how humble and ordinary he was. Over the years, we came to know him as a truly faithful man committed to living out the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Another time, we were at Trinity Copley Square to see several friends be accepted into the Episcopal church. Again, we arrived early and the church was bustling with activity. Priests, congregation members, and guests were moving about everywhere. In search of the rest room, I went downstairs using my cane to aid my walking. Some distance behind me was Tom Shaw. As soon as I reached a doorway, he was ready at the door to assist me. I knew he was the presider that day and still had to robe. Yet he took the time to help me. On another occasion, I was sitting a bit apart in a group setting, and he made sure to come over and speak to me. These small acts of kindness let me know what a caring person he was. May you rest in peace, dear Tom, sheltered in the loving arms of our beloved Savior.
Dear, dear Brothers, I send you all my deepest, deepest sympathy. Your loss is tremendous. I’m happy that Br. tom is finally with Our Lord and his suffering is over … but not his work. I believe he will be with you and will mend your broken hearts. I send myLove to each one of you, Barb
Bless you Bishop Shaw, rest in peace with The Heavenly Father !!!
I am so sorry to hear of this loss.
I only met Br. Tom once, but his unaffected openness and kindness are still very vivid for me.
His homily for Holy Thursday, 2007, on John 13, opened up that passage to me in a way that I have continued to carry with me.
Surrounding you all with prayers for comfort and consolation as you give thanks for the life and love of your Brother Tom. I give thanks for all of the myriad ways you made it possible for him to live so fully into his call as monk, as bishop, as beloved child of God.
“We seem to give him back to you, dear God, who gave him to us. Yet as you did not lose him in giving, so we have not lost him by his returning. Not as the world gives, do you give, O Lover of Souls! What you give, you do not take away. For what is yours is ours always, if we are yours. Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further; cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly; draw us closer to yourself that we may know ourselves nearer to our beloved who are with you. And while you prepare a place for us, prepare us for that happy place, that where they are, and you are, we too may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Bishop Show, you were blessing to many, in that list I am one among them. You are with God and his presence which is eternal. As we follow the same Lord Jesus Christ who is alive to help us to proclaim his Good News to many people, not only in our words but through our life. I wish people who have similar experience as I have in Christ Jesus will comfort those who are close to him. Bishop, thank you for your prayers and blessings. May God’s name be glorified through your life now for ever more, through Holy God’s presence in our Jesus Christ who is alive now forever. Amen!
Revd Sheela Jeyaraj
All Saints Church, Stoneycroft
Dear Brothers, you are all in my heart and prayers as we rejoice and grieve for our friend, brother, and bishop, +Tom. For so many years now, your community has been a refuge, a sanctuary, a haven, a home. It is the circle I enter, however geographically distant I am, where I continue to find the gifts of respite and peace. As a spiritual director, mentor, and friend , +Tom blessed my life. Once on retreat he gave me a gift of this psalm verse, “For God alone my soul in silence waits. From God comes my salvation”. His words still ring in my heart as he spoke of his own experiences of waiting. Now he waits no longer. He has made his journey “to the very heart of God” where he, no doubt, is silent and full of awe as he listens to God’s own boundless gratitude for the whole of his life. As we mourn his death, we rejoice in his eternal glory resident forever in God’s own heart. My prayers and those of my parish continue.
I only met him a few times, but I saw his work through the Episcopal Church I belong to. So sad to hear such a wonderful man went so quickly. He will be missed.
My cell was next to Tom’s, and I learned to throw pots on his wheel, but my real friendship with him began when I left the community. I didn’t expect that to be possible, since Tom was not always great at goodbyes, but when he adopted my husband, who called him uncle, and when our visits continued, year after year, it created a loyal friendship that I find myself missing so much right now. Blessings on your continued journey into God, Tom, so newly uncomplicated and bright!
My dear Tom, I Love You and there isn’t much more I can say. I’m eternally grateful for having met you and having developed the relationship we had. Thank You. Be well forever and keep a good watch over us.
My heart grieves for your loss. And I pray that these last days with Br. Tom have given you a deep sense of Holy Love, spirit – to – spirit connection, and the freedom to cry and laugh and remember together.
blessings of peace and comfort in these days~
I did have all that many encounters with Tom Shaw, but both Anne and I knew him from Emery House, on pilgrimage, or visiting his office on Tremont Street. But I’m sure my experience is that of many, namely that what the relationship lacked in length it more than made up for in depth. I remember gratefully the times when in Tom lovingly pointed me in the right direction. And that’s what it’s all about.
Remembering with fond memories the wonderful Sunday morning talks by Bp. Shaw on WGBH during the Lenten season many years ago.
May he rest in peace!
It must be 25 years since I first met Tom. I had just arrived for my first visit and he was bouncing in in his red track suit. As I sat with him for spiritual direction I was certain that we were sitting with Jesus as well, as St. Aelred says. He is such a gift in my life I have no words to describe…. Gentle, strong, challenging, funny, loving, brave, and above all a man touched by God–a real staretz. ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints,’ but with the joy of knowing them there is also such an ache.
Sister Alison Joy and I both are sending our love and prayers to the Brothers and Tom’s family.
Sister Helena Barrett, OSB
Dear Brother Tom presided over the service when the Community welcomed me as a member of the Fellowship of Saint John. As he administered the communion host he greeted each recipient by name, and has remembered mine ever since. We all shall never forget him.
I am so grateful that I was able to talk to Tom when I was over from the UK last October.I only met him a few times but am very aware of his major contribution to SSJE in helping see through and work on the new Rule which is an amazing and creative document.He had a great capacity for remembering and caring for people. He has died within a few months of the centenary of the death of Fr Benson which we will be celebrating in the Parish of St Mary & St John Cowley on 14th January and Tom will be in our prayers as well with profound thankfulness.
I just got home from my work as an RN and got the news that Bishop Tom had been called home. I will miss his kind smile and keen curiosity. My fondest memories of him involve my children. In 2000 my then five year old son was thrilled when the Bishop let him wear his mitre during a Children’s homily . Outside of church in 2007, after leading the Rev. Bob Appleyard’s retirement service, Bishop Tom spoke for several minutes with both Cilla and Tommy. He thanked them for coming to church on a school night to celebrate Bob’s ministry. He asked them about school and sports and gave them hugs as well. They felt honored and appreciated. His loving spirit will live on in my family’ hearts and lives.
I met Tom when I first visited the monastery in 1982, and always enjoyed speaking with him whenever I returned over the years for retreats. May God continue to bless Tom. Shalom. Rest in peace.
The CZM community and I send our deepest condolences to SSJE and pray for his soul to rest in eternal bliss. We have come to understand God’s love more through the SSJE ministry. Brother Tom, I will ever cherish your simplicity and affectionate heart.
I met Bishop Tom three times, when he visited my first parish, then at Trinity in Boston. Each encounter moved me to the core: as someone has commented above, I honestly felt like I was looking into God’s eyes. I was shaken, startled and opened, by the love I saw in his face, and in his demeanor and questions. Those encounters have moved me to make choices about giving, forgiving, and reaching out, not at grand levels but in the minute, and his spirit is present when I see these choices. The last time I saw him, quite recently when he was becoming more ill, I was amazed that he remembered our first encounter, and he did. I was the tiniest, tiniest possible speck of dust in the world of people he met, yet he touched me deeply. May he rest in great love, which he so abundantly shared with so many. I am deeply grateful to have met him. He embodied Spirit, to me, in ways that few have. With heartfelt and most loving wishes to all his brothers at SSJE.
Tom has been such a part of all of our lives, and we will miss him sorely. I hold all of you in my prayers. Now more than ever, I remember one of Barbara Harris’ early messages to the diocese: “We are an Easter People!” and I know how much we need this message on this glorious October day. I think of the many times when I have been mentored by our bishops, of all the powerful meditations Tom has given us, and of the many ups and downs of diocesan committee life I have shared with Tom. But especially, I will always appreciate the way he would ask how I was, and then he really listened, and he always responded to my reply. Sixteen years ago, in one of my transition moments, he turned to me and said, “You should talk with John Finley about the Epiphany School.” It was just one of the life changing moments Tom gave to me; I’ve been teaching at Epiphany ever since. He was a dear friend.
Uncle Tom, we cherish you and love you and miss you. I am so grateful for the brief times we had together. You brought humanity and joy and family to the some of the most important moments in my life – my marriage and James and Dexter’s baptisms – whether your glasses were caught up in Emily’s veil, or in Dexter’s wandering and curious grasp…
…therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
I am deeply saddened by the news of Br Tom’s passing. He very generously made a visit to St John’s, Ashfield, MA when he was bishop and I had only moved there a few weeks before from Chicago. I remember that his visit made me feel connected to the wider church and more at home in my new home –tiny though it is. May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, and may Tom rise up in glory. Prayers are with all the brothers of the SSJE in this time of sorrow. Yours in Christ, Elizabeth
Dear Community, So many years have passed since this wandering Benedictine monk ended up at your monastery. So many good memories, not just of your community as a whole, but of the close affinity I felt for Tom for all these years. I am sad for the church, sad for your monastery, sad for myself as I appreciated Tom and his leadership in your community during the year I lived there. People from both of our monasteries have come and gone over the years, but even after Tom became bishop, I could not but think of him in the corridors of the monastery. He was a great monastic. My love and sympathy to all of you.
My dear Brothers, I am so sorry to learn this very sad news. I did not know Tom but from a distance when he came to celebrate the Eucharist
with us. I do vividly recall his quiet yet palpable presence of calm. I can’t imagine how much you will miss him. I am holding you in my heart.
A treasured memory of mine is collecting signatures in support of health care with Bishop Shaw on Beacon Hill in the early 2000s. He carried a big orange sign and a clipboard and wore his monk’s garb – not your typical canvasser. He approached and invited passerby into civic engagement with the same presence, simultaneously humble and profound, with which he invited people to prayer and worship. Keeping Bishop Shaw’s ministry and all those in the Diocese of Massachusetts who were graced by his life in prayer.
As I read these eloquent tributes, I recognize name after name after name of so many people, so many who have touched our lives in this Diocese, and who were, like our family, so welcomed, taught, comforted and inspired by Tom. He was truly present for all of us in our myriad encounters with him, our son’s confirmation, the Mother’s Day walk earlier this year, in our mourning for Jorge, in Tom’s many visits to our parish. I always looked at his bright orange silk chasuble, diamond-shaped pieces cut and then sewn together to reflect in so many directions, as an example of how Tom did the same thing, radiating God’s love in so many directions himself. Our kids thought it was pretty cool, just like Tom.
Our gratitude to Tom, to this Diocese, and to God for a life so generously, selflessly and unforgettably shared. God’s peace to you, Brothers, in this time of loss.
Tom is the only man I’ve wrestled to the ground in fun, or anger. He offered the one sincere apology I’ve ever received. In both, he taught me about living with quiet joy, with quiet reflection and with loud passion. My daily morning coffee tomorrow, in an awkwardly childish mug that he sculpted and signed using a popsicle stick, will be rich in its memories, celebration and joy of his life.
Tom, you were a good man.
With grateful thanksgiving for the blessing of having been in a world with Tom Shaw in it. His memory will be eternal.
I was thinking about you Bishop Tom this morning and holding you in my heart. Looking out on this beautiful vibrant day, I thought, “today is a beautiful day to enter Paradise.” I pray that your journey was peaceful and it fills my heart to envision you embraced in Christ’s love beyond time and space. I will remember your faithfulness, your courage and passion for justice for all of God’s children. I love you and miss you deeply. Michele
He was my uncle. I will miss him.
Your uncle always thought that you were a very special guy. He loved his family.
Tom’s election was one of the most electrifying and joyful moments of my priesthood…. my love is with you all, my friends, as we move gently through this time together. Even at the grave we make our song,”Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” Peace to Tom and to us all.
Bishop Tom was a remarkable man who made such a measurable impact on my life in the short time that our paths crossed. I will always admire and never forget his leadership. No one person will ever compare as long as I live. I am especially grateful to the SSJE brothers who were there to sustain him through the years. I treasure every sacred moment spent with them in both the monastery and at Emery House. The SSJE brothers will always have a special place in my heart. Rest in Peace, Bishop Tom.
I came to know Br. Tom at St. John’s House in Durham, while he was still superior of the community. I was impressed by his keen and abiding faith, his humility, and his patience … even with the likes of me. When I was in Cambridge for Br. Eldridge’s ordination, Tom took time out of his busy day to inquire as to my parish and how I was coping with life and ministry among the Methodists. Even after his election to the episcopacy, he was never too busy to pause and share a kind word with me on my rare visits with the community.
On a self across from my desk sits the ceramic chalice and paten that Br. Tom made for me at Emory House so long ago. Each time I have presided at the Eucharist using that lovely little chalice and paten I have continued to give thanks to God for the ministry of Thomas Shaw. Henceforth, I will also praise God that one of his dear children and under shepherds of our souls has entered into Glory. May light perpetual shine upon him. Amen.
Peace be to you, Tom, and thank you. My dad will show you around. All our love, the Eastmans/eckhofs/Kefferstans.
For Tom’s deep insight into knowing and still not knowing the mystery of the Holy One I give thanks…….for his wisdom as teacher and trainer in Spiritual Direction I give thanks …….as Bishop and guide I give thanks. With deepest regard for Tom’s brothers and family members who grieve his loss while reflecting on the glory Tom shares with all the saints in light.
Dear Brothers –
Despite knowing that Br. Tom’s time on earth was drawing to a close, I was taken aback by the news today. I am so glad he was able to pass into the arms of our Lord surrounded by the love of his brothers with the rest of us holding all of you in prayer. RIP, Br. Tom.
I first met Br Tom at my church on Martha’s Vineyard when he came to preside at a baptismal service. His obvious love for all was deeply touching. It was the most beautiful baptism I have ever witnessed. Since that day some 20 years ago, Br Tom has been for me a model of grace and I have been blessed by the words he shared to us in the Fellowship. I was also most grateful for the welcoming love he shared with my young friend Nicholas when he began his studies at Harvard and sought a place to worship. Br Tom has had a special place in my heart and I will miss him as I know you will also.
I have been praying for Br Tom since his diagnosis and will now turn my prayers for all of you as you grieve his loss.
In December of 1981 I was fiortunate to attend the EDS/SSJE retreat at Emery House. +Tom, James Madden and Martin Smith cared for us wih such grace and it is one of those memories that I remember this day. Tom I will miss you and I am crying as I write this post. I look forward to my retreat next month in Cambridge but it will be different without knowing that Tom is there, but he will be.
“What wonders shall we feel, when we shall see
Thy full-eyed love!
When thou shalt look us out of pain,
And one aspect of thine spend in delight
More than a thousand suns disburse in light,
In heaven above.” (George Herbert, “The Glance”)
May it be for you now, Bishop Tom.
My heart goes out to Tom’s brothers in the SSJE community. My prayers are with all of you in this sacred time. I give thanks that Tom departed this life on a glorious, wind-swept day, as red and yellow leaves were released into a clear blue sky. I give thanks for Tom’s life, for his witness to the crucified and risen Christ, and for his kindness and courage and impish grin. When I told my mother that Tom had passed, her immediate response was, “Heaven is now a richer place.” Tom enriched so many lives, and opened so many of us to God. I praise God for giving him to us for a while, even as I grieve.
Tom was such a channel of God’s all-creating love to so many people…I hope that in his brief retirement he had some chance to sense the love the flowed back toward him. How gracious that he could end his days at Emery House–he helped develop it into what it is today–surrounded by his community, which he helped shape. How gracious that, after twenty years of dealing with an ornery New England diocese, he would have a few weeks of a glorious New England autumn. May he rest in peace and rise in glory; may he rejoice to see God face to face and to be united with all he loved who had gone before–And may God comfort his Brothers, his family, friends, diocese, and colleagues. We were blessed indeed to have him as “the monk in our midst.”
I am so sad to hear of Tom Shaw’s death. Oddly enough, my most vivid memory of him is seeing him jogging with Martin Smith, probably more than once, the year I was a student at Episcopal Divinity School, 1982-1983. He was a year or so younger than I, and exuded youthful vitality and enthusiasm, which marked my other interactions with him. I was so excited when he was elected Bishop. He is a great loss and I extend my sympathy to the brothers and the other associates of SSJE, and friends.
Dear Brothers, Pam and I join with you all in grieving our separation from Tom, and giving God thanks for the blessing of his abiding friendship. We’ve known Tom–and you–almost forty years, and his grace and faith and humor runs like a bright thread through our lives, and our children’s lives. He prepared our daughter Lucy for her first communion, ordained our youngest, Andrew, last January, and as for Rob, our middle child, who never sets foot in a church, but attended Andrew’s ordination: Tom met him at the reception afterwards and said, completely straight-faced, “So, Rob, I hear you go to church every Sunday!” Rob began to stutter and hem and haw until Tom, knowing Rob quite well, started laughing. Afterwards, Rob’s proudest comment about the ordination was, “Yeah, and I got punked by the Bishop!”
It was my great joy to serve as Rector of Br. Tom Shaw’s hometown parish – St. Mark’s Church in Coldwater, Michigan. We became good friends and my family loves Br. Tom very much. Light will perpetually shine upon him. May he rest in peace at God’s banquet table overflowing with rich wine and fine food.
I met +Tom nineteen years ago when my husband Parker introduced me to +Tom and the Episcopal Church. I was invited to join my bishop and a DioMass group that visited the missions and ministries supported by our diocese in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa in 2004 when I was in seminary – a trip of spiritual reawakening for many of us. I will miss your spirit energy, love, passion, generosity, sense of adventure, belief, trust, and wisdom. I learned from the best. Blessings to the SSJE brothers, family, staff, and friends of +Tom’s.
I am so grateful for Bishop Tom, his life, and the way he has touched my life. He ordained me to the priesthood close to two years ago, and I remember so many moments of guidance and presence from him on my journey to ordination. I will always respect Bishop Tom for his courage, his faithfulness, his vision for this diocese which has moved us all t o live our baptismal vows in this world– He will continue to inspire me. I already miss him very much. My heart is comforted in knowing that he is in God’s glory.
May God hold you in your grief with the same tenderness and love in which you held your beloved Tom as he approached the transformation of death. Treat yourselves with great gentleness in these tender days and nights.
May Brother Tom rest in peace and rise in glory. And may we all meet at the heavenly banquet, around the table ever and again.
Bishop Shaw’s consecration was a significant event as I began my studies at EDS in the fall of 1994. His presence was part of my spiritual formation during the next three years. Those of you at the Monastery, in particular, are in my heart. At First Church in Cambridge, UCC we also lost a longtime pastor to brain cancer. It is a hard journey, but like Tom Shaw, Allan Happe also showed us how to die a peaceful death. May our loving Father comfort you in this time of loss.
He was a good listener and a thoughtful responder. I had the chance on several occasions to focus upon him through a camera lens. I never saw him distracted. May he find peace for all the blessings he has bestowed.
Dear Brothers of SSJE,
Please accept my deepest sympathy at this time of loss. I’ve been keeping Tom and the brothers of SSJE in my prayers these past days. His ministry will continue to touch many lives as SSJE and the Diocese of Massachusetts continue to fulfill the mission of witnessing to the Risen Christ. Praise God for his life and work.
On a rainy spring night my wife and I were walking across the SSJE parking lot and from about twenty yards away Tom called out to us – by name. We had a great conversation. When we asked how he even remembered us he said, “Some bishops will be known for great preaching or as evangelists or expert administrators. I’ll be remembered as the bishop who was good at remembering people’s names.”
With prayers of thanksgiving and peace for Tom and the Brothers.
I was introduced to the monastery in 1986, at a pivotal time in my life, and Tom and the brothers welcomed me with love, acceptance and all the strength I needed to forge a new life. Over the years Bishop Shaw greeted me by name which was always a humbling experience, and I followed his career and life both in and out of the monastery. He provided his loving light to so many people and with such humility, shared so much of himself and the essence of God, that in the sadness of his loss, there is also a rejoicing at being able to experience his great vision of Christ and love here in this place. May the brothers also feel his love and peace in this time of transition.
Tom Shaw’s greatness was rooted in his ministry, done always with humility, openness and com-fort. Only a profoundly spiritual pastor such as “Bishop Tom” could have allowed so many to have embraced their own spiritual resources through his witness and innate skill. RIP, Bishop Tom, and may flights of angels take you to your rest.
Thank you for sharing this with me. A mutual friend told me a couple of weeks ago that Br. Tom was nearing the end of his earthly journey, and so we’d been praying for a peaceful passage. May he rest in peace. SSJE has been an important part of my life since the early 70’s; you are my brothers and I share your mourning.
My heart and prayers go out to the Brothers as we all mourn the loss of a man of God, who was one of a kind. Bless you Tom as you rest eternal in the arms of God.
Bishop Shaw confirmed me into the Church a few years ago. Bishop Shaw was and continues to be a living inspiration to us all – though he has passed, his kindness, compassion, and generosity will live on through the many lives he has touched.
May he rest in peace.
It is hard to find words to say how important Tom has been in my life. I first met him when I was in seminary, in 1978, and he became my spiritual director. He heard my first confession– I was so nervous, I remember my tea-cup rattling in its saucer– but he listened with the ears of God and helped me get past myself.
Years later, one question he asked me when I was on retreat at the monastery will always resonate in my ears. I was holding forth on some personal dilemma, and he asked, “Have you asked Jesus about it?”
That question transformed my prayer life, because no, I hadn’t asked him– I hadn’t understood Jesus to be able to answer me NOW. Tom taught me to pray in a different way, and taught me how to listen for answers to my prayer.
Though I haven’t seen him in many years, it makes me very sad to think that I will not see him again while I am still in the body. But afterlife is more attractive to me for the thought that I may see him again there.
I am sorry for your loss, SSJE, and for mine.
From your arms to God’s!
I am filled with gratitude for +Tom’s life, ministry and friendship.
May his eternity be filled with peace, love and joy.
Deo gratias and amen!
We have anticipated Bishop Tom’s medical challenge for some time; however, it still feels so unfortunate. We should rejoice in knowing that God is caring for him as Bishop Tom cared for us. My one day old grandson was given healing oils in the hospital by this outstanding man of God. I will always treasure that moment.
I have many memories of Br. Tom but none more vivid than his impassioned preaching in the early 90s (I’m not quite sure of the year) on our need to confront the sin of homophobia within ourselves.
He took good care of me and my special diet when I visited Emery House on retreat and expressed his affection toward so many people in so many remarkable ways.
I mourn him today with SSJE and the whole extended community.
May the angels lead him into paradise, may the martyrs receive him at his coming and may he enter in with Lazarus who was once poor.
Dear Brothers, I’m so sad to learn of Br Tom’s death and I feel a little of your pain. I thank you, and Br Tom, for your witness to the religious life and the spiritual quest. Please, let us pray for one another. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!
Who will care for Gaza? Who will care for Zimbabwe? Who will care for the kids at camp? Who will care for Mother Church? Who will fire the kiln? Br. Tom leaves us challenged and charged. Much love brothers. Roy
I have to say I never had the chance to meet this brave and quietly Holy brother. I had wanted to from the time I read about him when I moved here from up-state N.Y.
I am indeed sorry for your loss. He has run the race and fought the good fight. May his soul now rest in peace, May his memory live on in each one of you, and the new Bishop of Massachusetts.
God bless each and every one of you. Pray for me.
My wife Pam and I grieve and will miss Tom . He baptized our son Christopher in 1988. Before he became bishop I/we used to see him fairly frequently.
Each time was a joy.
I feel he was a wonderful ambassador of Christ. That will continue.
May he find quiet and union with Him whom he’s loved and served.
Charles and Pam and Christopher Swearingen
What a welcome this good anfd faithful servant must be receiving in heaven , At lastt all pain and suffering over and he is whole again What a blessing he has been to SSJE and to the Diiocese these many years How greatly Bishop Tom will be missed but remembered with joy and love
Tom’s presence in our lives has been one of our greatest blessings. He was among the first to welcome us to Cambridge and then became a good friend, spiritual advisor, and trusted colleague. His powerful presence in the Diocese, his calm and patient love for his people set a standard for bishops that is indeed rare. We especially appreciated his time with us as we together led trips to the Holy Land where we took groups of students and people from the Diocese. His commitment to justice grew from his love and concern for God’s people who are oppressed. Bless him. Our hearts are heavy. May he go from strength to strength is God’s greater Kingdom.
Bob and Maurine Tobin
A lot of seasons have passed since I last saw Tom or any of you Brothers. This news makes my heart ache. The years I worshipped and broke bread and sang with SSJE and friends provided the dearest memories, and Tom figured in a big way. Back then, Tom both inspired and infuriated me; I would never let on the effect he had on my spirituality but we did have at least one good fight that I now remember with embarrassment and affection. He unwittingly taught me a few good lessons. I have missed him and others at the monastery and some who are no longer there; I shall miss knowing that Tom is there. My sympathy goes to all of you Brothers, and Tom’s family and friends as you grieve, and to all of you without those definitions who also feel the loss of this man deeply. I’m sure our prayers will meet up. Much love in Christ, Patti
I want to extend my deepest sympathy on the passing of His Grace Bishop Tom. His suffering has ended and now he will receive the Crown of Glory as a faithful Bishop and Brother to countless souls around the world. RIP Brother Tom. JESU MERCY, MARY PRAY!
My prayers are with the people of the diocese and the brothers at this news. May Bishop Tom rest in eternal peace.
Bishop Shaw was our blessings, our moral compass, our voice against injustice, he will forever be apart of us. Jesus, I am sure, rejoiced to see him face to face at last. Bishop Shaw now shares in our victory in Christ.
I count myself blessed that my path crossed that of Bishop Shaw from time to time during his time as Bishop.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and extended family. <3
prayers for you all at SSJE and thanks for the life of Br. Tom who when my own Bishop questioned my call encouraged me to continue to discern and listen to God’s call in my life for which I will always be thankful.
I was amazed and touched deeply by Bishop Tom’s empathy no matter the setting I had the honor to share with him. “Alleluia. May Flights of Angels Sing Thee to Thy Rest”. And, I hope to see you “In that great gettin’ up morning, fare thee well, fare thee well”.
Dear SSJE brothers,
Your loss is felt throughout the entire diocese. May the hands of the loving God that enfolds us all, bring comfort, solace and strength to all of Bishop Tom’s brothers and sisters.
While we mourn his death, we celebrate his resurrection with the Father who gives us all a new life free from pain.
Tom was a gentle and fierce spirit, one of the people I could depend on most for both sound advice and wise challenge, particularly during my time as President of Integrity USA. LGBTQ Episcopalians have lost a great friend and brother.
You will be missed, dear friend. But my sadness is tempered by the knowledge that you life in eternity is not fulfilled. Go in peace. Thank you for your friendship.
As I received this notice of Tom’s death I was drinking tea brewed in a pot he had made. The pot, like Tom, is exquisitely beautiful and very simple and straightforward. It has eight sides, whether by his design or incidentally, like the eight sides of baptismal fonts and the eighth day of the Resurrection. Tom meant much to me, from his days as a novice and then Superior when he brought such transforming life to S.S.J.E.; through the years he visited the Diocese of Chicago and was my spiritual director there, saving my priesthood and perhaps my life; to his last years when I would see him occasionally and draw courage for my ministry from his courage as bishop. He has blessed so many of us. Heaven will be the richer for his arrival.
My thoughts & prayers are with the Brothers, family, & all those who have learned from & loved Tom Shaw. I am grateful to have known him through his retreat leadership & his shepherding of Diomass. Rest in peace, dear Brother, Bishop & mentor.
At a time of loss, sometimes it’s good to share some small memories; I find myself remembering the wonderful gatherings years ago in the refectory or crypt after the first Mass for Christmas. It’s my impression that Br. Tom was responsible for the amazing eggnog.
Bishop Tom was a symbol of hope for me, and many of my LGBTQ sisters and brothers. He and the brothers at SSJE helped me to find a new church home when I couldn’t remain in the Roman Catholic Church any longer. Bishop Tom was always advocating for us, marching with us, fighting for us. That meant the world to me, to have a bishop who believed that I really was a child of God and deserved the same rights and respect as everyone else. Thank you, Bishop Tom. You will be greatly missed.
Tom was my spiritual director when I was in the diocese of Chicago and would come about every 6 weeks for those of us living and ministering there. What a kind and beautiful and deeply spiritual man he was – for me and for all, and I have such holy memories of him as he led retreats for us there too. Part of who I am and how I am as a priest has been shaped by Tom, and how he walked along with me in my spiritual life. My time on retreat in Cambridge in prayer and joy and laughter too, with Tom along side is a memory I hold close. You’ve truly come home now Tom, and I am thankful…….
The Tom Shaw I will always remember is the Bishop who supported the rector and members of a parish in Woburn who saw an opportunity to use their facilities to create a quality day care program that would serve the needs of working families.
Tom took the time to come and meet with and encourage a group of parishioners and family’s whose children were being loved, cared for, and nurtured.
In his gentle, calm, warm manner Tom let it be known he hoped the program would succeed . To that end he left a substantial check .
“Let’s give it a try.Do our best . And see what happens”
You did that a lot Tom. Lots of wonderful things happened because you encouraged many of us to give it a try .
God is working His/Her purpose out.
+Tom introduced me to the Anima Christi at my pre-ordination retreat at the monastery in ’87. No other single prayer has sustained me as that one & I will always associate it with Tom. In that & many other ways, his ministry has had a profound affect on my ministry. My prayers are with all who loved him.
I first met Tom in 1978 when he and Carleton Jones came to do spiritual direction at General Seminary. In the middle of my meeting with Carleton, Tom burst through the door with a huge smile on his face proclaiming it was time to quit work and enjoy the city and his smile turned to horror as he realized he had interrupted our spiritual conversation. Ever since I have always found Tom that unique combination of the joyful and the holy. He was an extraordinary friend to me over all these subsequent years and one of my heroes of faith. He now knows joy beyond what he shared with us. I hope I can carry on some of his faithful witness here and now. Love and blessings to all the SSJE brothers and the rest of his family.
The first time the Christians at Occupy Boston celebrated Communion in Dewey Square, in October 2011, Bishop Tom let it be known that he planned to attend. I had created and organized the event, and was very fluttered to learn that the Bishop would be there. As United Church of Christ clergy, I hadn’t spent much time around bishops. Bishop Tom duly arrived, and I was introduced. I shook his hand and thanked him for coming. “What do people usually call you?” I asked shyly, expecting to hear “Bishop Shaw” or perhaps “your Grace,” as in Trollope novels. The answer: “People usually call me Tom.” Tom was there because he was passionate on behalf of justice for the poor. I loved him from that moment, and forever after. He will be terribly missed.
Tom was for me one of my last living links to the SSJE community. He was Assistant Superior during the time I lived at Cambridge in the 1970’s while I was a brother from SSJE Canada. Fr. Paul Wessinger was the Superior; Brother Bernard the Cellarer; Bro. James Madden the Guest Master.
Tom was always steady, confident and centred…I appreciated his ministry and his call. It was wonderful for him to be the Diocesan Bishop of Massachusetts and to be able to be such a positive influence especially in the Episcopal Church.
Tom was (at various times) my spiritual director, mentor, brother and priest . I have been privileged to call him my friend.
Charlotte and I met Tom when we were at General and kept in contact over the decades. His death touches us at a lot of levels and we extend our condolences to the men of SSJE and to the men & women of FSJ and the Diocese of Massachusetts. He embodied stability, though his life was very complex. We are grateful that our paths crossed Tom’s. Memory Eternal. Rest in peace, Tom, rest in peace. Onward and upward for the rest of us.
I am deeply saddened by the news. I was unaware of his illness as I had not been in touch with him for many years. But I fondly recall his presence at the Monastery during my visits. Love and peace to him and all his brothers, friends, and other family, Chrishan
We have been keeping keeping a prayer vigil in our hearts since the notice came out last week. Today is a sad one for everyone involved…..except for Tom…..for him may it be a Glorious one…..reunited with those he has loved who have gone before…but even more glorious to be in the ” nearer Presence” .of the Love of his life.
God bless you all. We will offer the Eucharist tomorrow for Brother Tom.
Tom, was a very special person to me. He was my second cousin and a role model for me in many ways. When I was in my twenties I would come to SSJE to have dinner and meet with him. He encouraged me to go to Haiti where I began my work as a missionary. Afterwards I became a director of Christian Education. That career has spanned over twenty-five years. I feel blessed to have know him and to be touched by his generous, deep spirituality. He was a rare human being and a bright shining light, an inspiration to us all.
I knew Br.Tom through the extradinordinary love and care he showed my Daughter,Sara, and son-in law, Noah, in their calling and ministry in the Diocese. I can only imagine the love he shared with others. I was priviliged to hear him preach on several occasions on my trips to Massachusetts. What a great blessing he has been to us all. Thanks be to God!
My heart and my prayers are with you all.
Bishop Tom has been a powerful witness for The Lord and so many of us mourn his passing and raise prayers for you his brothers and for his family. Requiescat. I’m sure he would also want us to remember those dying in Africa and in the Middle East, for whom, I’m sure, he continues to pray.
Rest eternal, dear Brother Tom. You taught me more lessons in love than I deserved. May your Brothers be comforted by the example of your life and the beauty of your holiness.
I didn’t know Br. Tom personally, but through my work at Christ Church Andover, I knew he was watching over us. His presence was felt by so many in our parish, by those who knew him personally and those who knew of him. He was a gift to us and will be greatly missed. Thank you for posting this video of him and thank you for the care you gave him, not only at the end of his life, but throughout.
I did not know Brother Tom, but my heart goes out to all the SSJE Brothers and all who knew him. You will always have your memories of him and have been blessed by knowing him – even as you will miss him.
Deeper into the heart of God… Thank you Lord for the witness and ministry of our faithful Bishop Tom.
Several years ago I attended a ECM lobby day where Tom addressed us. One thing he said was that God was tremendously grateful for our work. The idea of God being grateful for me was a totally new (and very powerful) thought.
I’m sorry we all had to lose him so soon.
God Bless Tom Shaw and all the Cowley Brothers during this beautiful/terrible sacred time. Much love.
With thanks to God for such an extraordinary life, may +Tom rest in peace, and rise in glory. My prayers are with you all. Arohanui, much love.
It is my prayer to become more like him. Many blessings on Br. Tom and the whole community as you grieve his loss. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!
I am so grateful to have been ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Shaw in September, 1995 at the Cathedral. He preached an amazing sermon and let us each choose a pot he had created to take home. Each had a “flaw” to remind us that our broken places are where God’s light will reach us–and that is the place from which we serve and heal each other. May you feel God’s amazing grace and love surrounding you as you grieve. In deepest sympathy…Jenny Brown+
I meant 1996–sorry.
What a truly poignant video, I am grateful to Bishop Tom for doing this reflection. A true study in dying gracefully and with dignity. The tears are starting to pour down my face. Bless you, Bishop Tom on your journey home, I have been delighted to live and serve in your diocese.
Parish of the Messiah, Auburndale, MA
When Tom was elected bishop it cost me a subway token to bring him the official news from the Standing Committee. We joked that it might have been Hawaii. He leaves a remarkable legacy as a healer, pastor, guide, developer of a camp for children and so much else, advocate for Palestinians and all who are oppressed. He indeed had a remarkable life.
From meeting Tom as a visiting spiritual director while I was a student at General Seminary to serving with him on committee, he was always a wise, holy presence with twinkling eyes. A great gift to all creation.
My wife Barbara and I extend our deepest sympathy and prayers to the brothers of SSJE and to all who knew and loved Tom. Tom was an extraordinary leader who brought great healing to our diocese and who led us in new and exciting directions of ministry and service. Barbara O’Neil and David Killian
I am very sorry for your loss. I never had the pleasure of meeting Br. Tom, but I did sense his love and goodness from reading his essays. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
My husband and I are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of +Bishop Shaw. It seems like yesterday when we were all gathered for his ordination as our Bishop. We are so thankful to the brothers at SSJE for their loving care of our dear Bishop and will continue to hold the brothers close in our prayers as they work through their grief. Rest in peace, beloved Bishop Shaw.
I will always remember Tom asking me regularly “Are you happy?”
May he rest in peace….my heartfelt condolences to the brothers and his family
I flew with Tom to Kanuga on the Friday before he was elected Bishop of Massachusetts. When elected,I remember thinking what a great Bishop he would be. Yet more importantly what a wonderful man he was. Tom, you helped me understand the meaning of spirituality and it’s place in the world. Your brothers helped me in some significant times in my life. For you and for them I say ” servant well done, very well done”. God bless all.
Years ago, my wife and I were staying in the Guest House (in the only room
with a double bed…the old infirmary) and after one of the meals, we were
asked to help wash dishes. So, there I was, next to Tom at the sink. As I
recall, he washed and I dried. No big deal. Such a humble and faithful servant.
Tom came into my life at the perfect moment – a dark time when I needed his spirit of peace and light and hopefulness so much. He knew and met so very many people that I could never believe it when he would remember my name each time we met. In this amazing grace of knowing my name – he helped me understand and feel deeply that God knows my name as well.
Memory Eternal to a wonderful monk. The monks at New Skete will remember Br Tom Shaw at Vespers tonight. Memory Eternal.
Thanks be to God for the gift of Tom’s life! I will always remember how he taught us that God adores us, and that we are called to live into that love. And now he’s basking in it… May he go from strength to strength in the light of Christ’s perfect and eternal Love.
My prayers are with the brothers during this time of mourning. May God bless you, even in these days, with a glimpse of Tom’s joy.
Bishop Shaw was a great biswhop ijn the church whose influence spread widely and with great blessing to us well beyond Massachusetts. I am personnally grateful for his influence on me and my ministries.
I alwasys loved and appreciated Br. Bishop Tom Shaw! May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory! Pay he continue to pray for us, even as we pray for him!
My prayers are with the brothers of SSJE as they mourn over Br. Tom’s death. He was an extraordinary man of deep prayer and humor. I will always be grateful for his dedication to all GLBT.
Tom Shaw gave me some valuable counsel when I was a newly-elected abbot many years ago. I remain grateful to him for his encouraging and wise words.
I always appreciated and loved Br. Bishop Tom Shaw SSJE
May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory! May he pray for us
even as we pray for him!
Tom had a very large hand in leading me to the work I now offer to the Church! I morn the loss of a dear friend, colleague, and servant of the Christ!
I wish to add my sympathies to the Society of St. John the Evangelist and the Diocese of Massachusetts. A good and faithful servant has gone home to a well deserved and peaceful rest. Many thanks to God for his witness and ministry. I also wish to thank the SSJE for your faithful witness of looking after the Late Brother during his time of illness. May we all follow the example of Christ that you have shown to the world.
I was secretary of St. John’s on Bowdoin St., Boston from 1976 to 1980. I had the privilege of doing the bulletin for Brother Tom’s First Vows of Profession and of course I attended. My love and sympathy go to all of you.
Among so many other gifts, I will never forget the kindness, pastoral care, authentic attention and true support Tom gave to my Mother, over many years, and including my Dad’s dying and death.
A gift of the heart, freely shared.
“Rest in peace and rise in glory, Tom”.
My dear Brothers,
I am saddened by the news of Br Tom dying, even though I know that it is for the best, as I’m sure he must have suffered. But he is with God now where there is no more sorrow or pain. My heart goes out
to all of you as you deal with your grief. May you be aware of Gods’
endless love both for Br Tom, and for you, that you might be comforted. Also that you will remember that you will all see him again some day. With love in Christ,
Brothers, it is with profound sadness that I receive this news. But
with joy that he is now with the Lord.
He was truly a man of God.
i got to know Br. Tom as an SSJE Intern, there were times I would forget he was a Bishop, he was just one of the family. Having conversations in the kitchen with him and that time we went for pizza at Emery House and in walks Br. Tom! The lasting thing I will remember is his deep deep love for people, didn’t matter who or where they were from, his depth of thoughts and his humor. I was privileged to see a lighter, more relaxed side of him.
It makes me sad to know I can’t send him an email saying hello, and I’m sad for the community knowing how deeply he will be missed.
However I’m excited for him as he goes to be with God who heloved so much.
Much love to you all,
Nancy & Doc
Dear Friends, The Richard Warren Wheelers of Concord come together to express our deepest thanks for so much that Tom Shaw contributed to our lives in the many years that we knew him. He has been in our prayers during these last months and will always be remembered. His guidance will also alweays be with us! Rick and Betty Ann Wheeler
We have all lost a wonderful brother bishop today. God be with us all in our grief, especially with the people of the Diocese of Massachusetts, their Bishops, Allen and Gayle and with the SSJE community. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
I will always be grateful for having known Tom and sharing in the life of the SSJE community. God rest you from your labors, brother.
I love you, Tom. Such a great friend, companion and colleague in ministry and life for so many years. Today I especially remember the week I spent with you all at Emery House. Barbara joins me in giving thanks to God for you and in prayers to the One whose love will never let go of any of us and for your brothers and all other friends and those who have been touched by your ministries. We both mourn and rejoice.
Please, know that the good people at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge pray for your strong comfort and for the repose of the soul of your brother and ours, Bishop Tom. May Bishop Tom rest in eternal peace having lived a life of faithful service to God whom he so dearly loved. He will be greatly missed. God be with you.
~ Christian Brocato, Rector
My favourite memory of Br. Tom was of him leaving his pottery on the stone wall at Emery House for anyone who might like to take something home. A beautiful blue vase he made is still in continuous use in our living room.
I remember the relief and gratitude people felt when a monk was elected bishop. No doubt, accepting such an outward leadership role was a great sacrifice for Br. Tom and in many ways the whole Society to make.
Please know that I join my prayers to those of a vast community of supporters who will be keeping Br. Tom’s loved ones, especially his dear Brothers, in our hearts. Peace be with you.
Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world;
In the Name of God the Father Almighty who created you;
In the Name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you;
In the Name of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you,
May your rest be this day in peace,
And your dwelling place in the Paradise of God. Amen.
Michael and I join with you in mourning +Tom’s death. He blessed our marriage, and in other ways too numerous to count. I rejoice with him that he has now taken his place among the faithful who have come and gone before us, and pray that we, too, may one day be numbered among them. Well done, sir, well done.
I first met Br. Tom back when the SSJE had a house in Durham, NC, and could tell at once that he was a wholly remarkable individual. I did not know him well at all, but the blessing of his presence remains clear and undimmed. May his soul, and at the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Prayers are with all the brothers of the SSJE.
It’s a glorious, bright day here in New England – so fitting as Brother/Bishop Tom passes from this life to eternal glory. My deepest condolences to his Brothers and family, and all who mourn his passing.
When I looked into Bishop Tom’s eyes as he confirmed me it felt like I was looking into God.
I am saddened to hear of your great loss, dear brothers of SSJE. I have known Tom for many years and hold memories of him that will last forever.
May our gracious God hold you and protect you in your hour of need.
Blessings! Norm Anderson
I did not know Br. Tom Shaw except by reputation & from some of his writings. However, I made retreat at SSJE in Cambridge twice with other women priests from the Diocese of Texas, & his mark seemed to be on much of what SSJE stands for. I was told a story my first time there when I went to the Common Cathedral service on Sunday afternoon. It is my understanding that +Bp. Tom-upon being made aware that the Muslims in that part of town were no longer welcome where they had been praying each day-invited them to a space in the Cathedral for their daily prayers. Such is the radical hospitality which we are called to practice in our relations with those of other faiths. Praise God for his life, his work, & his openness.
He was instantly a loving friend to everyone he met — and we all found love in meeting him! My nine year old grandson said when they met that he was a man filled with God — and so he was and is.
While I have anticipated this moment lots of times since Tom’s diagnosis almost 18 months ago, I still can’t quite imagine the world without him in it. Spiritual Director, Bishop, and friend over 31 years, the roles and relationships weren’t always easy to juggle. But what I always knew was that Tom held me and my family in his heart and in his prayers. The last time I talked to him, he looked at me and said, “I was praying for you this morning.” And in that moment, I knew the fullness of his love and generosity– for me and my husband, for our sons, for the Diocese, and for his SSJE Brothers. In his living and in his dying, he taught me how to live as a faithful person and priest. And so today, I give thanks for the life and witness of Tom Shaw.
+Tom was a blessing to SSJD, the Diocese of Massachusets, and the wider church. He will be missed. I will long remember his kindness and hospitality over this last couple decades that I have made occasional retreats at SSJD. May Tom rest in peace and rise in Glory.
Brother Tom gave me many kind words of encouragement over the years. But a great gift of understanding he gave in an ordination sermon for Kimbrough Besheer in 1982 at St. Paul’s Wickford, Rhode Island. He said something like ‘It is natural for us to think that priesthood means I can now serve God, the Church and fellow human beings. But I see your priesthood as God’s special gift to you as the means by which you will work out your own salvation.’ That came part way through my own journey; a great gift.
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Tom. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory, and may those who mourn be comforted.
My heart goes out to the Brothers of SSJE and to Tom’s family. Tom was a wonderful man, a wonderful religious and a fine priest and bishop. It was a privilege to know him since our days as fledgling liturgists in the 1970’s. May he rest in peace.
Bishop Tom was a friend and mentor. He helped me, as a new bishop, to see the joy in episcopal ministry and challenged me always to stay focused on God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation. The world and the Church has been richly blessed by the gift of Tom. I will miss him tremendously.
I remember Br. David Clayton, then Novice Master, introducing Tom with delight as a newly clothed novice at St. John’s, Bowdoin St. back in the 70’s. Who knew then what this young priest would become as brother, bishop and some much more. It was such a privilege to know him; a privilege, too, to watch at a distance as he lived his time with cancer with such courage and faithfulness. My wife, Judith, is on the same journey as Tom has been, perhaps a month or so behind him. His witness has been a comfort and guide to us as we approach her last days.
My prayers are with both you and your wife as she lives her last days.
My husband was a month ahead of Tom in his journey. I resonate with Tom’s last words in the video about trust in the process (of dying). I had a lot of anxiety during the process of my husbands death and once in awhile it would melt into trust. I pray that you can trust in when and how you wife dies. I also pray for you as you experience anticipatory grief as well as for the brothers as they grieve the loss of their brother Tom. Peace be with you.
My prayers are with you, the brothers of SSJE, in your time of mourning.
I’m very sorry to hear of Brother Tom’s passing. I can’t really say that I’ve had many memories of him, but attended a retreat years ago led by him and it was a wonderful experience.
I know you as my Bishop, then I came to know more about SSJE. I am grateful to God for your life, for how it has touched mine, and that you are in health and joy in heaven!
It was just three years ago, while +Tom and I were planning a Ministry Fair for the Diocese of Massachusetts, that Bishop Tom turned to me in the middle of all kinds of planning and logistics and asked me, “Are you enjoying yourself in this work?”
I will always remember the look in his eyes when he asked. He waited, he sat still until I answered, “Yes, I do, when I am able to work with people who care as much as you do.” It has been a rich gift to know Bishop Tom. His question will stay with me – as a token of his remaining presence – now from a cloud of witnesses rejoicing. Thank you for making this space to remember! Tom Brackett
Dear Brothers, I am so sad to hear about Br. Tom, but I know he’s at Peace now and no longer suffering. He was a wonderful man who touched many lives. His ministry within the walls of the monastery and the diocese will live on. May light perpetual shine upon him. Prayers for his repose, the Community, his family, and the diocese. Love, Jude
It is with profound sadness that i learn of the death of Bishop Tom. He was a personal friend and mentor who also supported me immensely in my post graduate studies. Bishop T om and the brothers were a part and parcel of the St. Philips Theological College Maseno , Kenya where they used to lead annual weekly spiritual retreats for students and staff at the college. His humble approach on vexing Christian issues endeared many to identify with. I have personally lost a friend who though at times was miles away, was always ready to guide me when i needed counsel. I will miss him a great deal