Rev. David Kinish (1892-1984)

Father David Kinish, Atchison, Kansas, USA

Written by Abbot Owen Purcell
Father David is known for his devoted service in the Abbey Library, as Chaplain to the Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery for 38 years, and for his long-time cultivation of irises, and later, orchids. In fact, he discovered a new species of orchid in Brazil, the Orleanesia mineirosensis, which the Oakes Ames collection at Harvard University allowed him to name. Father David had a very dry sense of humor perhaps captured by this anecdote. One day in the Recreation Room he announced to Father Cornelius Caples the U.S. Navy had developed a clock that lost only a thousandth of a second each century. He suggested that Father Cornelius might like to have one. Father Cornelius replied with an equally dry remark: that before he acquired one he would wait until the Navy worked out the "bugs."

David was a quiet person no doubt fostered by his time alone with the irises in the garden or the orchids in the greenhouse. On his orchid-hunting trips in Brazil he took along a younger person to climb the trees and cut the specimens. Father David worked daily in the quiet of the library. He did have a masters in library science from the University of Michigan. The library was not as open as it is now during his tenure there. The college library did not have open stacks. One filled out a form, gave it to a worker, and the requested item was retrieved from the closed stacks, which were in the east basement and second floor of what is now St. Benedict Hall.

The library work room was in the area where the Maybee Theatre is now located. The workers, mainly Father Colman Farrell and Father David, worked there under florescent lighting, in cassocks, and always fitted with green visors, much like poker players, to carefully catalog books and maintain the periodicals. Other community members did help on occasion as did student workers. There was a bookbinding area on the north end. Some monks tried their hand at that as well.

Father David is most prominently remembered as the long-time chaplain at Mount Saint Scholastica Monastery. Over the course of his tenure he gave thousands of homilies and heard as many confessions. Each day he was there for early Mass along with Father Felix and others who helped. He was revered by the sisters and was quick to remind us monks of how hard the sisters worked for the Abbey and the Church. Monetary recompense was often lacking or minimal.

The story is told of Father David's dealings with one particularly noteworthy sister. He apparently was uncharacteristically brusk in his manner toward her. Her reply: "I'm finished with Kinish!"

Father Blaine Schultz has this reflection on the life of Father David: "One of my favorite monks! We had one thing in common, our love for classical music. He taped hundreds of radio broadcasts of classical music and shared them with me.


Intermediate Bearded: 'Green Enchantment'.

Tall Bearded: 'Blue Border', 'Blue Maid'. 'Bustles', 'Danny', 'Flora Klaholt', 'Glory', 'Mary Clotilde', 'May Queen', 'Ptarmigan', 'Ruby King', 'Sarah Kinish', 'Silver Lake', 'Violine'.

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18
Topic revision: r6 - 15 Jan 2019, davepote
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