Remembering Fr Stan
by Tim McEvoy
The 6th December marked the first anniversary of the death of Fr Stan Dye and those in the St Beuno’s community remembered him with great love and thankfulness during a quiet Mass in the Chapel.
Stan’s quiet good humour, gentleness and humility were all qualities that shone out of him but one that many people have also remarked upon was his compassion. His was a life that knew something of the mystery of great love and great suffering and perhaps because of this he had the gift of reflecting something of the compassion of God.
Originally trained as a teacher, Stan discovered his vocation to the Missionaries of Africa (aka the White Fathers) after a significant period working in Tanzania and later Kenya with the Volunteer Missionary Movement – the lay organisation founded by Edwina Gately. He is described as having been a ‘friendly, quiet man who seemed to have an immediate rapport with the young people he met.’
After his noviciate in Zambia, Stan trained for the priesthood at Mill Hill in London, and pursued studies in Arabic and Islam in Rome in preparation for his first mission to Sudan. Not long after starting work in Sudan, he contracted a virus that attacked the muscles in his back and which left him partially paralysed after several painful operations.
Unable to continue his missionary work in Africa, Stan moved back to the UK and for a time was superior of one of the White Fathers’ communities in London, serving also on the Westminster Marriage Tribunal, before joining the team at St Beuno’s.
In his obituary, one of Stan’s fellow missionaries made the perceptive comment that ‘just as he adapted to a greater life than what he expected after being infected in Sudan, so now his life has come to fruition, hidden in the Lord.’
Our life is rarely what we expect – God’s plans are rarely our plans – and Stan knew this from painful experience, as did St Ignatius. But he chose to embrace the life that God gave him and how great and fruitful that life became, and indeed continues to be, for others. For this and for all he gave to us, we give thanks and remember him with love.