Delery, Mark

From Biographia Cisterciensis

Mark Delery OCSO

Mark Delery OCSO

3rd Abbot of Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Virginia, USA, 1984–1990

* 02 Jan 1919 Cambridge, Massachusetts
29 June 2010 Winchester, Virginia

Alfred A. Delery was born January 2, 1919 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the third of nine children of Louis A. and Albertine A. Vezina Delery, and grew up in nearby Somerville. He was educated in public schools, but his mother made sure he went to Sunday school at their parish for his religious education. His father was the manager of a company that manufactured paper boxes for chocolates.

He graduated at Boston College, 1941, and Tufts Medical School, Boston, MA, 1944. He served as a Captain in the U. S. Army Medical Corps, 1945–1947. After a two-year residency at the Boston City Hospital, where he got his medical experience with alcoholism and treated many alcoholics, Dr. Delery opened a private practice as a physicianin Medford, Mass., 1949–1954. He was a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, 1963, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

In 1954 he entered St. Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, MA, in 1954 as a monk. As Father Mark he was ordained a priest in 1959. He served his community as physician at the monastery infirmary and vocation director. In 1981, he transferred to Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA, and was elected third abbot of the community, 1984–1990. During his tenure a new Guest House (Retreat House) was built. In was also during his term of office that the Trappistine nuns of Wrentham, Massachusetts, made a foundation near Charlottesville, at Crozet, Virginia, in 1987 (Our Lady of the Angels), Abbot Mark taking on the responsibilities of Father Immediate of the nuns. Another significant development was the spontaneous association of laypeople around the community who would eventually become the nucleus of the Lay Cistercians.

After his service as abbot, Father Mark ministered as spiritual director and counselor at the Abbey Retreat House until his last illness. He authored several spiritual books, The Parable of the Cherry Blossom and The Song of a Silent Stone, both in collaboration with the artist Sheila Keefe. He also wrote the biography of a fellow monk, Brother Thomas Whalen, Feet of Clay Wrapped in Love. The book follows the monks’ struggle with alcoholism and his journey to recovery.

Fr. Mark Delery died Tuesday, June 29, 2010 at the Blue Ridge Hospice Residential Center and was buried Saturday, July 10, 2010 at the Holy Cross Abbey Cemetery.



Vest.: 1954; Sac.: 1959; Abbas: 1984–1990.


The Parable of the Cherry Blossom, 1989 · The Song of a Silent Stone. Cistercian Publications. 1999 · Feet of Clay, Wrapped in Love: A Story of an American Monk. Christendom Press, 2008.


Susan Burke: Always lifting the human spirit. Fr. Mark Delery, a 90-year-old Cistercian monk, has lived three lives. The Catholic Herald, 1 June 2010 · Necrology.

Citation: Delery, Mark, in: Biographia Cisterciensis (Cistercian Biography), Version vom 28.8.2015, URL:,_Mark

In other languages