Fox, James

From Biographia Cisterciensis

James Fox OCSO

James Fox OCSO

1st Abbot of Holy Spirit, Conyers; 6th Abbot of Gethsemani 1948–1967

* 10. Dez. 1896 Dedham, Massachusetts
17. April 1987

Born Henry Vincent Fox, the son of Irish parents Patrick and Mary (McEntee) Fox of Boston, MA, Dom M. James Fox, O.C.S.O., was a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Business School. He served in the U.S. Navy during the First World War. After working for the U.S. Treasury, he joined the Passionist Order in Pittsburgh in 1921, and then transferred to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance at Gethsemani in 1927. After ordination to the priesthood in April 1930, Dom James was sent to the newly established Monastery of the Holy Ghost in Conyers, Georgia, in 1944, and elected abbot there in 1946. Upon the death of Abbot Frederic Dunne in August 1948, he was called back to Gethsemani where he led as abbot for nearly 20 years, until resigning in 1967. He then lived for 10 years as a hermit on the abbey grounds, but was assaulted by a pair of trespassers there, and due to injuries sustained he spent his remaining years in the abbey infirmary, where he died on Good Friday in 1987, age 90.

Dom James is remembered for his exceptional management ability, and during his term of office Gethsemani Farms was established to help support the abbey, and several new foundations were made, including New Claivaux in California, and Genesee Abbey in New York. He is also remembered for his interaction with his fellow monk, Thomas Merton, whose literary work he oversaw as part of his abbatial duties.

Dom James' younger brother Bernard (1898–1989) was a also a monk of Gethsemani, and his brother Joseph Peter Fox was a Jesuit priest. Three of his sisters entered religious life with the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur: Sr. Bernard Marie Fox, Sr. Margaret Mary Fox, and Sr. Catherine Dorothea Fox.



Doerner, Lino: Dom James Fox: In Memoriam. CSQ 23.1 (1988) 95–98.

Citation: Fox, James, in: Biographia Cisterciensis (Cistercian Biography), Version vom 7.9.2015, URL:,_James

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