November 22, 1930 - April 7, 2016

Terence Austin Leonard Dosh

November 22, 1930 — April 7, 2016

“Your promise is very sure and your servant loves it” (Psalm 119:140). This was Terry’s prayer as he lived with Parkinson’s these last seven years. He died on April 7, 2016, believing: “Both in life and in death we belong to God” (Romans 14:8).

Terry was the sixth of seven children born into a loving family in St Paul. His parents, Charles Michael and Lilly Olson Dosh welcomed him on November 22, 1930, his dad witnessing his birth.

Terry was nurtured in Catholic parishes and schools (last at St Helena in Minneapolis) until he moved to St John’s in Collegeville (1944) for Prep School and University.

He was a lifelong sportsman and a curious and passionate student who applied his scholarship as a social justice activist. He became a Benedictine Oblate November 21, 1945 (Gregory).

On July 11, 1950, he joined the monastic community, receiving the name Leonard. He was ordained a priest June 1, 1957. As a monk he taught at St John’s Prep and University and St Ben’s in St Joseph, MN. He shared his enthusiasm and vast knowledge of history, geography and art with his students and was mentored by Fr Walter Reger. He served as prefect, Oblate director and publisher of the Oblate newsletter.

His PhD in European History was granted by the University of Minnesota in 1971 after a year of research in Paris (1966–67).

In 1969, Terry took a leave from St John’s moving to Manhattan Beach, CA to teach at Cal State Dominguez Hills for five years. He received a permanent leave from the monastic community in 1971, but remained an Oblate. His baptism and the Rule of St Benedict guided his life.

On August 13, 1971, Terry married Millicent Adams of Minneapolis. Their two sons, Martin Luther King Chavez (1972) and Paul Gandhi Joseph (1974) were born in California. Terry and Millie returned to Minneapolis in 1974 to raise their sons among family.

Terry established a teaching/consulting business and taught in over 100 churches and synagogues the next five years. He helped parishes learn about changes in the church since the Second Vatican Council and taught scripture and history classes.

Terry paid special attention to children and young adults, inquiring about their lives and giving them things to read. He was always the teacher, helping others to nurture their interests and develop new ones.

After travel to Central America in 1984, Terry gave 50 free lectures on the region, teaching the public about the church, history and US military intervention. In 1980–81 he was an adult educator at Risen Savior Catholic Church in Apple Valley.

In 1981–83, Terry served Lake Country Montessori School as administrator. In 1983, the founders of CORPUS (Corps of Reserved Priests United for Service) hired Terry as its first National Coordinator and publisher of CORPUS Reports. For six years, he traveled the USA, Canada and Europe encouraging married priests to organize for an end to mandatory celibacy in the Roman rite. There were natural groups of married priests all over the world, and Terry helped empower them to publish and act for change. In 1990–2014, Terry founded, edited and published

Bread Rising, a newsletter that educated over 2000 subscribers about injustice and reform in the Catholic Church. For eight of those years he published a newsletter for Priests and People for a Married Priesthood called Around the Table. In all his work, he built and nurtured community. When one door shut, he found another through which he could walk and continue his ministry. He aspired to: “preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words” (St Francis of Assisi).

Terry took great pride in Martin’s career as a musician and Paul’s work as a professor, attending their concerts and lectures even at age 84. He treasured their wives and children.

Terry was an activist or board member of church reform organizations such as ARCC, WOC, CCCR, Call to Action, PPL, DISAL, Catholic Worker, Bread for the World, and Federation of Christian Ministries. He organized several National Conferences for CORPUS and FCM.

Terry retained an abiding love for his brother monks and St John’s, his home for 30 years. Fr Don Talafous, who shared Terry’s first Europe trip in 1963, was especially attentive in his final years. Fr John Kulas preceded him in death.

Terry was a liberator through storytelling. With short vignettes, which sprang from his brilliant grasp of history and love for people, he could free a listener to see the present in the context of the past with hope for the future. He lived with joy and optimism.

Terry’s parents and five siblings (Chuck, Jane, Patty, Tom and Stan) await his homecoming. His attentive and beloved brother Rev Mark B Dosh survives him.

His wife Millie of 44 years, Martin (Erin), Paul (Andrea Galdames) and his four grandchildren (Tadhg Bolen, Naoise Dosh, Araminta and Mateo Dosh Galdames) miss the gentle love and intelligent guidance of Terry, who loved them so much.

All services at St Frances Cabrini Church, 1500 Franklin Ave SE, Minneapolis. Visitation on Friday, April 15, 2016, 11 am–2 pm and 4:30 pm–6:30 pm, followed by Vespers at 6:30 pm. Eucharist of Christian Burial on Saturday, April 16, 2016, 10:30 am, followed by lunch and program. Terry’s body will be transported at 2 pm and laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery, New Richland, Waseca, MN about 4 pm. Thanks to First Memorial Waterston for assistance with funeral arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Building Dignity, Peru, Lake Country Endowment, Cabrini Matth


Terry Dosh, married priest, activist dies at at 85


Terry Dosh Funeral Homily

April 16, 2016

Gospel: Luke 24:13-35 "Appearance on the Road to Emmaus"

It was three weeks ago that we were in the mist of Holy Week--hearing again the detail of Jesus suffering and death--his Passion--from both the gospels of Luke and John.   In the parish I serve we proclaimed the gospel using actors miming the action and speaking the words of the passion characters. Little children were mesmerized with sadness and fear as the story plays out. Adults noted how little the dynamics, the passions and the dysfunction of human life, including religion and politics, have changed in 2,000 years.   Misguided idealism and twisted perspectives bring so much suffering on the world--to this very day.

So at Terry Dosh's request we hear about two people walking away from the shattering experience of Jesus' suffering and death. In absolute disillusionment they walk away from Jerusalem. The growing hopes and dreams for themselves and the world were dashed by the fears of the religious and political status quo targeting Jesus. It is a familiar scenario repeated in many conversations throughout history.   People's dreams for a better world, a better church, a just society and a thriving compassionate human community are shattered by the fears of vested interests maintaining an illusion of power.

So into the mist of a despondent human conversation a stranger joins a couple and their conversation about how life functions and dysfunctions. Cleopas, and presumably his beloved wife, have their journey engaged by this third party.   Dialogue begins!

Some weeks ago before the ravages of Parkinson's would make Terry's communication with us a great struggle, Terry quoted Pope Paul VI to me as well as saying this of himself, that the greatest gift and event of his life was his baptism. Baptism and the Order of St. Benedict saved his life--he said! As a historian he knew the ancient understanding of baptism: it was a baptism into journeying with Christ--an immersion into the paschal mystery of Jesus’ suffering, dying and rising to new life. The Christian does not walk alone.

The Christian is accompanied by the Risen Lord. The Christian is accompanied by the monks of his community and by his beloved wife--as was Cleopas. To walk by faith does not depend on a GPS or pictured guide books. It follows the path walked by Jesus and the People of God on their life journeys.

As we walk we dialogue with our experience and their history.   Terry's amazing memory, his awareness and recall of what was going on in one period of history or another grounded his perception of the present with great vision and courage.   He accepted the Risen Jesus’ observation to the couple on the road to Emmaus, that the human mind is handicapped by being dull. They were not thinking out of the box they put themselves in.   They didn't see the pattern that prophetic history had unpacked in showing us the way of Jesus and the truth of the path to glory. So Jesus liberated their minds giving them a history lesson from the inspired Word of God.   So many times from the amazing mind of Terry, the historian, words came that liberated people and took them deep into the truth of our Christian tradition and its faith.

So with Christ and in Christ, Terry and Millie have been breaking bread and gathering others around their table. What a gift they were to each other, their children and grandchildren. I saw the intensity of that love a few months ago when one of Terry's grandchildren was at home with grandpa. Despite the inexpression forced on Terry's face by Parkinson's Disease I saw him gaze intensely at his playing grandchild. Tears welled up in his eyes, and I experienced the gift that a married ministerial priesthood can give—serving the church.   What a gift Terry has been to liberate so many of us by holding up the rich diversity of history and the amazing dynamics of our Jewish-Christian traditions.

The couple walking on the road to Emmaus said to one another: "Did we not feel our hearts on fire as he talked with us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?"   It is in the "breaking of bread among us" and in the dialogue along our road that we discover the Risen Lord is indeed with us. Terry's journey with us is completed.   Many of us will deeply miss our hearts being on fire during our conversations with him.

But the same one who came to glory and spoke on the road to Emmaus, is the same one who walked with our beloved Terry Dosh. It is the same one who walks with us and breaks bread with us as we make our way on the path to where God will bring us.   It is to the fullness of Christ's Risen Life that we commend Terry. It is with great thanks that we praise God for Terry being at the table with us.   May the remaining steps of our journey to God be guided by Jesus' walk with us and may we listen intently with the ears of our hearts.

Rev. Kevin I. Clinton

Pastor of St. Wenceslaus, New Prague, MN

Priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Mpls for 41 years

Friend of Terry & Millie Dosh for over 35 years


Paul Dosh's eulogy for Terry Dosh


I am so grateful for the incredible outpouring of love and community support at Friday and Saturday's services.  Thank you!  Here is the poem I shared at the beginning of Mass on Saturday. 

I joined the exodus / but I am no exile

Elegy for Terry Dosh
November 22, 1930-April 7, 2016

by Paul Gandhi Joseph Dosh

at St. John’s University
“the stones and bricks breathe warmth and friendship”

January 1951 / 4:25 am
a bell clangs
reverberating 15 centuries of the Rule of St. Benedict
Brother Leonard awakes

rise   cleanse   shave   dress
kneel   pray   Psalm   profess
praise   chant   chapter   verse
stand   sign   cross   confess

7 years earlier / Leonard
had been Terry Dosh
springing spritely off the train at Collegeville Station

a ramshackle bus—“the Grey Goose”
trundled through thick autumn woods
depositing an eager 13-year old
at the Abbey and School

Terry knew almost no one
but St. John’s would be his home
from FDR to LBJ / from Pius XII to Paul VI
and from the Church’s second epoch—centralized, Roman, patriarchal
toward its third epoch—collaborative, multicultural, feminist

Terry had loved his childhood home in Minneapolis
it brimmed with books / sports / siblings
Mom verifying her Triple Word Score with the Dictionary
Dad reminiscing his .350 average as a semi-pro outfielder

the Depression had thinned Dad’s paychecks
but free biographies from the John Hancock Insurance Company
provoked a habit of historical reading
each chronology neatly shelved
in Terry’s internal Library of Congress

Terry loved his childhood home
but it was at St. John’s that he found his name:

Leonard exuded history and engagement
when he taught Western Civ
your heart leapt as it all clicked together
not just Renaissance Reformation / Medieval Iconography
but also African geography / Asian culture

but Leonard earned his administrative bruises
reprimanded over Vietnam
his job threatened for publishing on the Birmingham bombing
he had embarrassed the Abbey
and the Abbott revoked his ticket to France

but he won out / got to Paris
where he pored over parchment
exhuming the 17th century Congregation of St. Maur
an order of monks that sought reform through
—wait for it—
a critical examination of church history
in the 11th century

flying back over the Atlantic
he wore a daring Parisian suit
at JFK International
a white-haired pastor frowns at flamboyance
“Leonard, what’s with the blue suit?”
Terry flashed that Cheshire grin:
“don’t worry, Pastor
it’s in honor of the Virgin Mary!”

that blue suit / was his first and last good fashion choice

Fulbright travels to the Middle East magnified Terry’s lens
but it was 1960s race relations in Chicago
that percolated into his conscience

arriving at Norbertine House in Chicago
Terry was shocked to find that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI
had claimed the monastic house as their base camp!

Terry had 12 roommates: 10 Norbertine monks
and two FBI spies
videotaping / for months / the neighbor across the street:
Elijah Mohammed

the agents explained the “threat”
of the Nation of Islam
the peril of Black Power

Terry didn’t yet have Howard Zinn
so he found his counter-education
at the barbershop / north of 47th
“Father, we normally don’t cut White men’s hair
but you’re very interesting
you can come any time”

becoming a White ally took time
the men talked / Terry listened
they spoke of wives and unemployment
batons and broken bones
Stokely Carmichael and Malcolm X

now the biographies were being written all around him
and Terry could not stop reading

at Los Angeles groceries and in Delano fields
Terry joined the United Farm Workers picket
Filipino and Latino grape pickers welcomed an ally with a white collar
a shield of respectability
against the growers’ goon squad

yes, with Vatican II blowing sweet wind in his sails
Terry Dosh had it all:
calling / career / conscience

but then he fell in love
smitten by the gorgeous Millicent Adams
enticed by her intellect
twitterpated by her community-building
attracted to her dissent
he had to marry this woman!

but the Roman authorities demanded a choice

tenured history professor among his beloved Benedictines
or a home-stitched wedding at Minnehaha Falls

Dad / you prayed over that choice
you witnessed that prophetic cataclysm
known as the great exodus of priests
you received your Call to Action
to ordination and marriage

you were in motion
you empowered disparate groups of married priests
to come in from the wilderness
and rejoin the body
join national conferences so productive
the minutes required extra postage

you want me to summarize Terry Dosh in minutes?
give me hours / days / years

give me a 20th-century Leonard / heralding the 21st
by examining the 17th’s / analysis of the 11th

give me one more dateline from Czechoslovakia
reporting the secret ordination of women and married priests under Communist rule

give me / green Resurrection Pants to blind the sun

give me one more liturgy of liberation to Save Our Newman Center
exegesis homilies to enroll us all in Greek

give me one more family trip down the Mississippi
chasing Huck and Jim all the way to the Gulf of Mexico

give me one more crepe on the Champs-Élysées
sweetened by Dad trusting me to traverse the city alone

give me one more Ping Pong rematch
whooping serves to gouge plaster walls
one more stolen base on Harriet Avenue
each firm catch in my mitt an affirmation of Dad’s love

most of all
give me that buoyant smile
defiant loyalty that proclaims
yes, I joined the exodus
but I am no exile

“in death and in life we belong to God”


Eulogy for Terry Dosh
by Martin Luther King Chavez Dosh

My dad's voice was music, and his life was a song.  Played out beautifully, full of complications, but in the end an emphatic statement.  

It's really hard to reconcile what he went through to make the decision to fall in love, knowing what that meant to his love of the priesthood, but really, that is what love is, a decision.  

He taught me so much I can't even begin to explain it.  Playing soccer in the backyard with Paul and me, encouraging me to take up whatever I felt passionate about, and consistently beating me in ping pong and basketball until I was old enough to beat him.  And when I finally did, he was really steamed.  Really, truly upset that a 13-year old could best him.    To me, it was the greatest thing ever.  After losing 300 games of 21 to your dad, and then finally beating him, knowing he wouldn't give you an inch, I knew I had earned it.  And from that day forward, I would go to our neighbors house with my boombox, pop in a Jimi Hendrix cassette, hit play and shoot free throws for hours on end.

Which brings me back to music: it's my heart, it's my soul, it's my church.  I owe it all to my dad.  His love for me transcended all of his doubts.  He took care of me in times of soul-smashing pain, and cheered me on in times of success.  When I finally got to play Carnegie Hall in 2009, Paul and I flew mom and dad out to see the show.  My dad's only comment:  "Martin, it was beautiful, but could you just turn it down a bit?"

You have to understand one very very important thing:  I carry my father with me.  He's in my heart, he's in my mind, he's in my soul.  In fact, he is me, and I am him.  He gave me the gift of life, and sacrificed his own life to help me grow.  He nurtured, he cared, he was confused, he spoke, he held steady, he trusted in his faith, he forgave and he loved.  

There will never be another human in this world like Terry Dosh.  My father, my teacher.  He is in my blood, and will be until the end of time.  His last words to me, about 3 days before he died, were, “Martin, don’t let me go.”  I never will, and I thank God for the miracle of his life.