Remembering Father Bruno
Sunday, November 29 (first day of Advent) – We tolled the bells this morning just after the wake up bell at 5:15 a.m. and gathered at Fr. Bruno’s bedside for a vigil. For those who hadn’t heard, Bruno’s health had been declining and he finally needed to enter hospice care at an outside facility for a short period of time. We had brought him home just Friday noon and he died late Saturday evening. He had one of us with him the whole time and his dear friend Lynne had just arrived a few hours before. A momentous way to begin Advent! We will miss our beloved Bruno.
Born Arthur Paul Barnhart on April 10, 1931, in Long Island, New York, Fr. Bruno was the only child of Arthur Chamberlain and Julia Barnhart. Fr. Bruno received his B.S. in chemistry from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He later received his M.A. in chemistry at Dartmouth, New Hampshire.
Fr. Bruno spent 2 years in the Navy where he worked in lab tech biochemistry at Bethesda Naval Hospital. During his lab days Bruno lost sight in one of his eyes during an accident in the laboratory. After visiting the Trappists of Spencer, Massachusetts and Genesee, New York, Fr. Bruno contacted Fr. Modotti at New Camaldoli Hermitage. He arrived in Big Sur on April 9, 1959.
Fr. Bruno professed vows in 1960 (simple) and 1964 (solemn). During the 1960’s he studied in Italy, receiving a STL degree from Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. Fr. Bruno served as prior of New Camaldoli Hermitage from 1969 to 1987, making trips to Italy every 3 years during that time to serve as a member of the Camaldolese Constitutions Committee. He has published several articles and five books (The Good Wine, Second Simplicity, The Future of Wisdom, The One Light (editor) and Purity of Heart (co-editor). He has given many retreats, conferences and workshops over the years. Since 1994, Fr. Bruno has served as editor of The Golden String, the official publication of the Bede Griffiths Trust.