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Mr. Paul Dupuis was born on 27 January 1942. His parents named him Kenneth. Of French origin, his Catholic family lived in Garner, Massachusetts. In those days, people were naturally religious and pious, and little Kenneth grew up in the Christian faith with his two brothers. During his childhood, he attended a Catholic school run by the Sisters of the Assumption. At the age of eight, a rabbi from Gardner's Jewish community prophesied to him that he would become a religious, because in a vision he saw him wearing a brown monastic habit. This same rabbi told him that he would later learn Hebrew.
Between 1966 and 1968, he spent a year at the prestigious Sorbonne faculty of literature in Paris and travelled to Greece and Mount Athos, the famous peninsula where hundreds of Orthodox monks live. At the Iviron monastery, he was overwhelmed by the miraculous icon known as the quot;portaïtissa quot;. He felt a particular calling that would influence his destiny.
He returned to the United States, but the country was plunged into race riots by the assassination of Martin Luther King on 4 April 1968. The riots spread to several major cities, including Worcester in Massachusetts, where he lived. He preached the non-violence of Martin Luther King to young people in the black community.
In 1969, he was a French teacher at Old Forge in New York, then at Oakmont in Massachusetts. Since 1965, the Americans had been waging a massive war in Vietnam. From 1969 onwards, the American people were opposed to this war and various demonstrations took place until 1972. He was part of a small group campaigning against the Vietnam War and wrote anti-war poems. Called by the authorities to be drafted, he shouted anti-war poems and slogans on the bus to Boston with other young people. Refusing to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he fled to Canada and sought the protection of the Canadian government as a conscientious objector.
In 1968, he worked in a bookshop in Montreal. He married in the Catholic Church. During this period, he became acquainted with a traditionalist Christian community that had broken with Rome following the Second Vatican Council. After a short marriage, he and his wife agreed to join the religious life of this Christian family. On 29 June, he was ordained a priest and three years later took his monastic vows on 28
April 1972. His final solemn vows took place on 27 March 1975. He was sent on mission to Guadeloupe for a year and a half, then to Italy to help found a monastery at San Michele in Teverina in Tuscany.
Around 1980, he was sent to the Dominican Republic. There he founded a poor little monastery and chapel near Cristo Rey, a district of the capital Santo Domingo. He began this mission with only a few dollars in his pocket. For several weeks, he ate mainly grapefruit. He slept on the ground in a tool shed lent to him. He worked with peasants and poor people in the capital. For more than two decades, he
ministered to the poorest people in the shantytowns, delinquents and drug addicts. Throughout his life, Mgr Paul wrote poetry. He is considered a great poet in the Dominican Republic. He was also interested in Hindu mysticism, which he explored following in the footsteps of the Benedictine Dom Henri Le Saux. He has given several lectures on this tradition compared with Christian mysticism.
In 2003, he was forced to leave his religious community because of doctrinal issues, which he felt were no longer in line with the faith of the Church. He returned to Boston and found work at Shoenhoffs bookshop in Cambridge, a city on the outskirts of Boston. He decided to keep his religious habit to preserve his monastic life and prayed to the Virgin Mary to find him a new community. He obtained a position as professor of French at Harvard Universitys prestigious Divinity School in the department of literature and spiritual and mystical writings until 2016.
During a trip to France in 2008, he visited the Sainte-Présence monastery of the Celtic Orthodox Church. He immediately realised that the Lord had answered his prayer. He discovered that Bishop Mael, then Primate of the Celtic Orthodox Church, was born in the same town as Gardner, attended the same school and lived two streets away from his own. They did not know each other, as they were a generation apart. Bishop Mael entrusted him with the mission of founding a monastery in America.
He left Boston for Berryville in the state of Virginia in 2014. The Church then acquired a house on an isolated site at Tom's Brook near the town of Woodstock, which became a dependency of the Sainte-Présence monastery in France under the abbatial and ecclesiastical authority of the primate of the Celtic Orthodox Church. His ability to speak several languages enabled him to maintain numerous spiritual relationships with many people around the world. He was much appreciated for his kindness and goodwill towards everyone.
During the celebration of the Easter Liturgy last April, he fainted. The doctors diagnosed pancreatic cancer. His brother Peter took him to Boston for treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Despite treatment, the disease spread and it became clear that his days were numbered. On 12 September, the Primate of the Celtic Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Mark, arrived in Bolton to assist Bishop Paul in his final days. He collected his last spiritual thoughts, which he considered to be his testament. He died a holy death at precisely 7.27pm on 19 September 2023, the feast day of Our Lady of La Salette.
Bishop Paul sowed the Word of God and the spirit of the great tradition of the Western Orthodox Church in America. This Church was independent of Rome for the first thirteen centuries of Christian history and was restored in 1866, gradually recovering its rite, customs and traditions. Bishop Paul is now a powerful intercessor before God, and we firmly believe that his work will continue in the ways that the Lord has already decided.
May his memory be eternal and may his prayer help us for the glory of God, in the service of his love for all people and all creation.