2006 Distinguished alumni awards

Br. Kenneth Malloy, O.S.B.
Lacey, Washington
Benedictine service award

There is a monk at Saint Martin’s, black garb and blushing red hair, that one sees almost daily pushing a grocery cart upstairs, downstairs, and across the courtyard. You may have even once feasted on his fabulous fried clams. He is Br. Kenneth Malloy, O.S.B. and unless you ask, there are important things about him you will never be graced to know.

“He exemplifies,” said Fr. Alfred Hulscher, O.S.B., Prior and Director of St. Martin’s Abbey Fiscal Affairs, “the true Benedictine spirit of ‘ora et labora’.”

Malloy was born in Denver, Colorado just as the depression years were about to begin. At the age of four he was left at St. Claire’s Orphanage. A few years later his mother returned for him only to pass away a few short months after their reunion. He again found himself in an orphanage and did not begin high school until the age when most kids were graduating. He graduated from St. Vincent’s in 1952.

After visiting his sister in Tacoma, Washington he decided to stay. He found employment with the railroad and bought a house in Tacoma for the commanding sum of $1000.00.

“But there was a hole in me,” said Malloy, “and even with a good job and nice house I couldn’t fill it.” Drinking became a problem. “I, of course, didn’t think I had a problem, but every one else did.”

It was then that Malloy came in contact with the monks from St. Martin’s Abbey – Fr. Alcune, Fr. Arnold, and Fr. Gregory. They invited him to help work in the woods and soon Malloy’s ‘hole’ began to fill. “I had always known I wanted to be ‘religious’ but it seemed like I continually got cold feet.” Malloy joined St. Martin’s Abbey in 1968 under Abbot Gerald Desmond, O.S.B. But even then his thoughts were consumed by when and where he would find his next drink. Malloy took his Solemn Vows in 1973.

In 1975 Abbot Martin Burn, the Abbot President conducted an intervention. As emotionally painful as it was, it was successful. Not only does Malloy remain abuse free today, he has also found what he considers his purpose in life – to help others deal successfully with substance abuse issues.

After earning a two-year certificate from Seattle University in substance abuse counseling, Malloy ran the Real Life Office at SMC from 1980 through 1990 and remains on call today. “Today’s ‘no-alcohol’ on campus policy is a direct offshoot of that office,” said Malloy.

Malloy is a hard worker always willing to lend a hand if asked. His genuine smile assures all that he indeed finds Christ in everyone. Known amongst his fellow monks to possess ‘practical wisdom,’ Malloy is grateful for his life experiences. “They are what have brought me to where I am today, and this is where I belong.”