Father Philip Gustave Clement Ghys, O.S.B., the son of the late Edouard Ghys and Maria (Moorkens) Ghys, a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA, died on September 25, 2004. He was eighty years old. Fr. Philip was born on June 7, 1924 in Assebroek, Belgium. He was the brother of Rev. Edmond Ghys of Brugge, Belgium, Marie Therese Ghys of Brussels, Belgium, and the late Philippe Ghys.
He attended Dames de Andre and Institute of St. Francis Xaverius grade schools, and graduated from Koninklyk Atheneum Brugge High School in 1941. He graduated from Catholic University, Louvain in 1946, where he studied to be a chemical agricultural engineer and engineer of the agricultural industries. He studied philosophy at Saint Andrew Abbey, Bruges, until 1949, and theology at the same abbey until 1953.
Father Philip made his simple profession of monastic vows January 6, 1948, at St. Andrew Abbey, Bruges. His solemn profession of monastic vows was made on January 15, 1951 at St. Andrew Abbey. Ordained on July 25, 1953, at St. Andrew, he served as a teacher and prefect and as a reserve chaplain in the Belgian Army (1955-1978). In 1961 he was assigned to Shaba Province in Congo, Africa, where he advanced to administrative director. He entered Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1970 and was assigned to teach in Savannah in 1971. At Benedictine Military School, Savannah, Father Philip taught earth science, Bible study, biology, algebra, geometry, religion and physical education and served as assistant headmaster (1975-76, 1976-77). From 1981 until 1995 he served in the administration there, overseeing the bookstore and cafeteria. He returned to Saint Vincent Archabbey in March of this year.
Distinctions Fr. Philip earned include being named Ridder (knight) in de Kroonorde, April 7, 1967, Ridder in de Leopoldsorde, April 7, 1972, and Officer in de Kroonorde, July 20, 1977.
Father Philip became an American citizen on April 28, 1978.
Father Philip’s body will be received at the Elizabeth Roderick Center, Saint Vincent Archabbey, on Wednesday, September 29, at 3:00 P.M. Viewing will be held in the parlor of the Elizabeth Roderick Center from 3-5 P.M. and 7-9 P.M. on Wednesday and 3-5 P.M. on Thursday. A vigil service will be held in Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica at 7:15 P.M. on Thursday, September 30, after which Fr. Philip’s body will lie in state in the Basilica until 9 P.M. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica on Friday, October 1, at 10:30 A.M.
In lieu of floweres, memorial contributions may be made to the Benedictine Health and Education Fund at Saint Vincent Archabbey, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.