Three Monks To Make Solemn Vows July 11

Three Benedictines will profess solemn vows, or vows for life on July 11, 2023, before Archabbot Martin de Porres Bartel, O.S.B. They are Brother Sean Cooksey, O.S.B., of Pittsburgh, Brother Francisco Whittaker, O.S.B., from Grove City, and Brother Romuald Duchene, O.S.B., of St. Paul, Minnesota.


Brother Sean Cooksey is the son of Dr. Stephen Cooksey of Pittsburgh and Mary Frances Reidell of Pittsburgh. He has two brothers, Patrick of Colorado Springs and Daniel, of Seattle, and a sister, Erin Leet of Pittsburgh. He is a 2006 graduate of Serra Catholic High School. He has studied at the Community College of Allegheny County and Wheeling Jesuit University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in history in 2011. He entered the monastic community at Saint Vincent Archabbey in 2018 and professed simple vows on July 10, 2019.


Brother Francisco Whittaker, O.S.B., is the son of Daniel and Kathleen Whittaker of Grove City, and has two brothers, Thomas, of Pittsburgh, Nathaniel, of Grove City, and a sister, Sarah, of Pittsburgh. He graduated from Mother of Divine Grace School in 2015, then earned a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry in 2019 from Saint Vincent College, magna cum laude. He became a novice at Saint Vincent Archabbey in July of 2019 and professed simple vows on July 10, 2020. He earned the master of arts degree in Catholic philosophical studies, summa cum laude, from Saint Vincent Seminary in 2022. Following profession of simple vows his appointments have included assistant miller, Saint Vincent Gristmill (2020-present); assistant to the director of campus ministry (2020-present); assistant manager of the Gristmill General Store (2020-2021); and assistant to the director of vocations (2021-present). He and his brother Nate co-host a podcast called ‘All Good in the Brotherhood’.


Brother Romuald Duchene is the son of Patti Gentz of Minneapolis and the late William Duchene. He was one of three children. His brother Benjamin is from Anoka, Minnesota. His sister Debra is deceased. Brother Romuald came to the Archabbey in 2009, spending a year in the novitiate and professing first vows on July 9, 2010. Spending two more years at the Archabbey, he began a period of discernment before returning in 2021 and renewing his temporary vows in 2022. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, in 2002, and a master of arts degree in systematic theology from Saint Vincent Seminary in 2021.His assignments at the Archabbey have included assistant archivist (2010-2011) assistant to the director of facilities management (2010-2013), consultant on the monastery roof project and the mausoleum project (2011-2013) and assistant to the director, Institute for Ministry Formation (2021-present).From 2018-2022 he was second vice local chairman of the Grand Forks, North Dakota Chapter of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and is a PADI master diver.