In Memoriam – Fr. Corwin Collins, OSB

Fr. Corwin John Collins, OSB ’48, Past Faculty 1957 – 72

John Collins was born in Port Chester, New York, on October 3, 1930, to John Peter and Mary Ann (Tarpey) Collins, who were born in Ireland. His family included seven children—five boys and two girls. His mother was a homemaker and his father a painter and interior decorator.

John began his grade school education at Saint Anselm’s Catholic School in the Bronx, New York, (1936-1944) in a parish staffed by Saint John’s Benedictine priests. He then enrolled in Saint John’s Preparatory School, Collegeville (1944-1948). He thrived in the prep school environment, participating in almost all the intramural sports, playing center on the football team for two years, and taking on acting roles in theatrical productions.

He continued his education at Saint John’s University, Collegeville, in 1948, earning a B.A. in philosophy in 1953. In the same year, he began priesthood studies at Saint John’s Seminary. Following solemn vows in 1954, Brother Corwin (his monastic name) was ordained to the priesthood in 1957.

During the summers between 1958 and 1964, Father Corwin attended the University of Notre Dame and was awarded a master’s degree in sociology in 1964. He later continued his education in summer sessions at Fordham University in New York, where he pursued coursework in counseling and film studies.

Besides teaching religion, Spanish, and social studies (sociology) and serving as hockey coach at Saint John’s Preparatory School from 1957-1964, Father Corwin was also prefect and dean of students from 1957-1972. He continued his work in the educational apostolate through his appointment as headmaster at Benilde-Saint Margaret’s High School, Saint Louis Park, from 1972 through 1974, and then as co-principal from 1974 through 1977.

His pastoral parish assignments included Holy Rosary Parish, Detroit Lakes, (1977-1979) as associate pastor; pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, Saint Joseph, (1979-1988); Seven Dolors Parish, Albany, (1986-2007); Saint Martin’s Church, Saint Martin, Saint Catherine’s Church, Farming, and Mother of Mercy Nursing Home, Albany (2008-2011).

Father Corwin also served as the dean of the Benedictine parishes in the Saint Cloud Diocese and as a member of the presbyteral council of the diocese.

Father Corwin died on July 25, in the retirement center at Saint John’s Abbey. He is survived by a sister, Maureen Collins, Washingtonville, New York, and the community at Saint John’s Abbey. The monks, family, and friends will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for Father Corwin at 3:30 pm on July 31 in Saint John’s Abbey and University Church with interment in the Saint John’s Cemetery.