Fr. Doug Brougher Recalls a Lifetime Association with the Abbey
Fr. Doug Brougher is an inaugural member of the St. Benedict Society. As a member of the Class of 1957, Fr. Brougher was a year ahead of Abbot Patrick. He was ordained in Rome in December of 1962, although he was officially a member of the ordination Class of 1963. A faithful priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Fr. Brougher has been pastor at parishes throughout the area including St. Joseph’s in Gretna, LA. He is now in residence at Good Shepherd Parish where he also does sacramental ministry.
Following his ordination, Fr. Brougher returned from Rome and the first package he received in the mail was a letter from the Archbishop. In the letter, the Archbishop told Fr. Brougher to please make out his Last Will and Testament and burial instructions. “I was only 25, and not planning to die soon,” recalled Fr. Brougher, “So I put off making my estate plans for many years.” When he finally got around to it, he knew the Abbey was one of the charities he wanted to support. Like many others, now he even has his Abbey coffin and cemetery plot picked out.
For the past 27 of his 52 years as a priest, Fr. Brougher has been the chaplain at Touro Hospital in New Orleans. His work at Touro is a rewarding ministry. ”It’s humbling because you feel you can do so little, but they thank you so much.” Fr. Brougher is blessed to see how much it means to bring the sacraments to those who are suffering. At the heart of his ministry is prayer and simply listening to people.
Although he is still recovering from his own hip replacement surgery, Fr. Brougher is already walking about without his cane. After a short break, he is back at Good Shepherd Parish and once again making his rounds at Touro. Past his mandatory retirement age, Fr. Brougher has no plans to slow down anytime soon. He remarked, “I feel blessed with a wonderful team of Eucharistic ministers who are inspiring. They make it possible to focus on patients that really need me.”
Fr. Brougher has long been fond of Saint Joseph Abbey. “It is a very special part of my life; not only training me for the priesthood but sustaining and supporting me over the years.” Since his ordination, he has made regular visits for renewal through prayer with the monks. With New Orleans a little more than an hour away from the Abbey, Fr. Brougher tries to visit monthly and feels at home because he knows the monks very well. Fr. Paul, a teacher who taught Fr. Brougher more than 50 years ago, still lives there. The constancy of being able to travel to the Abbey and always finding the monks there provides him “a spiritual oasis.” To Fr. Brougher, the most attractive thing about the Abbey is the prayer life and community life of the monks. In fact, he says, “Visits to the Abbey for renewal are truly one of the reasons I am still a priest.”
Fr. Brougher often reminds others, especially his fellow alumni at St. Ben’s, how blessed they were to be able to share and benefit from the monks. “We really grew up at the Seminary—we were there for six years. There’s no way I can ever pay back what the monks did for me. He recalls, “All the monks, working for nothing, lots of them, and putting up with high school kids! For a lot of the seminarians, there is no way we could repay them.” That’s why Fr. Brougher sometimes speaks of his commitment as “payback time,” and encourages others to join