O’Toole, Colmcille

From Biographia Cisterciensis


Colmcille O’Toole OCSO

5th Abbot of Mount St Joseph Abbey, Roscrea 1964–2000

* 09 Sep 1925 Ballintubber, Co. Mayo, Ireland
08 Dez 2014 Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Dom Colmcille who was a native of Ballintubber was one of the seven sons of William and Eliza Ellen O’Toole. He was baptised in Ballintubber Abbey and was a Mass server there. He attended the local National School, and continued his education later as a boarder in the Cistercian College, Roscrea (1940-45). He entered Mount Saint Joseph Abbey, 15th August 1945, making Final Profession in 1950, and being ordained priest 1952.

After his ordination Fr Colmcille taught RE and Irish at the College, later becoming Dean of Studies. He was a great listener and a patient task-master, soon winning the confidence of students and teachers alike.

In 1964 he was elected Abbot by the monastic community. At that time it was an assignment for life. Retirement at the age of 75 was later introduced, so he was in office until 2000. His first major task was the setting up of a new monastery (Bolton Abbey) in County Kildare, with 17 monks of Roscrea to establish it. Monasteries in Scotland (Nunraw) and Australia (Tarrawarra) had been founded by Roscrea monastery in 1946 and 1954 respectively. During his term of office, Abbot Colmcille visited both monasteries on several occasions, often spending time in American, Asian and African monasteries en route. He was a much travelled man.

On the home front he set up a Board of Governors at the College, later to become a Board of Management. For some years he was a member of the Ballintubber Abbey Trust.

His period of being Abbot started with the Second Vatican Council, after which the fall in vocations in the Church began. So he lived through the period of dwindling numbers in the monastic community and in the Church generally.

Abbot Colmcille resigned his office on the 1st Juli 2000. He died in his 89th year, at his monastery, on the 8th of December, Feast of the Immaculate Conception.



Prof.: 1950; Sac.: 25 Jan 1952; Abbas: el 20 Feb 1964, ben 12 April 1964, res 1 July 2000.


Who's who, what's what and where in Ireland. London: G. Chapman, 1973 · Obituary in The Mayo News, 6. Jan. 2015 [1].

Citation: O’Toole, Colmcille, in: Biographia Cisterciensis (Cistercian Biography), Version vom 19.9.2015, URL: http://en.biocist.org/wiki/O%E2%80%99Toole,_Colmcille

In other languages