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Dom Benedict Heron OSB 1921-2018

Author: Peter Kraushar

Dom Benedict Heron OSB 1921-2018

Peter Kraushar remembers Dom Benedict Heron, one of the leading lights of Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the UK, who has died aged 97.

Dom Benedict died aged 97 at 8 pm on Saturday 6 October in the Enfield nursing home where he had lived for so long and where he had longed to go home to join Jesus. Surrounded by about a dozen loyal friends, he suddenly came up with a huge smile – and then he was with Jesus!

Born in a devout middle class Anglican family, his father, Tom Heron, a convinced Socialist and a pacifist, founded and ran the successful Cresta Silks and relocated the family to Welwyn Garden City.

He had 2 brothers and a sister. Both Michael(Benedict) and his brother, Patrick, were sent to St George`s Anglican boarding school, Harpenden.

Patrick became one of the greatest modern painters in the UK. Michael excelled in rugby, captaining the school team to victory in the first Public School Sevens tournament in England.

A Force For Peace and Christian Unity

As a pacifist, Michael joined the Friends Ambulance Unit during the Second World War and was influenced by the Christians there, mainly Quakers. Then he became a Catholic monk, joining the Benedictine Olivetans and taking the name “Benedict”.

After a novitiate in Monte Oliveto, he spent time in Belgium before joining the Monastery of Christ the King in Cockfosters, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Even in the 1960s, he was in regular contact with leading Christians of all denominations. 

He was much influenced by leading Pentecostal pastor, Donald Gee, and even attended his Pentecostal Bible College in the 1960s – amazing for a newly ordained Catholic priest in that era.

CCR Leader and Visionary

He became one of the founders and leading lights in Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the UK.

He regularly led Days of Renewal in Euston and, in 1972, founded Cockfosters Ecumenical Charismatic Prayer Group, which continues to flourish. 

Mike Pilavachi found faith there and John Wimber even once took part in the ministry team. So many healings have taken place in the prayer group and prayer Centre, set up a few years later.

In addition, he regularly said the Family Tree Mass, which developed a very large following, with many experiencing great peace and healings.

A Man of the People

Though incredibly humble, Benedict was so popular because of his interest in people and the joy which permeated his faith. 

Alleluia!  was his favourite word and never far from his lips. Always full of stories, he could never stop laughing at his own jokes; he was such a pleasure to be with and his joy was infectious.

He was so human, so infectious in his interest in people and so ordinary, never believing himself superior to any one.

He truly loved Jesus and Jesus must have loved him so much.

A Great Man of God

Although writing probably did not come easily, he wrote several books, including Praying For Healing, Come Holy Spirit, Our Call To Holiness: The Reflections of a Sinner and I Saw Satan Fall.

The titles reflect his wide knowledge, including his experience as a Diocesan exorcist, as well as his humility. His books, articles and letters continue to be used and respected for their practical wisdom. 

While continuing to be a force in Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Benedict maintained contact with other Christian denominations.

He once gave the final blessing in Kensington Temple and loved going to Holy Trinity Brompton. He promoted the Alpha course in North London, where the prayer group are now running their 44th Alpha.

A great man, a man of God-but also so ordinary. When on pilgrimage in Lourdes, he spent a whole evening watching the Rugby World Cup final on TV. Alleluia!          

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