OBITUARY: Dr. James Lester Hogg (Mar. 10, 1931 – † Nov. 18, 2018) aged 87

It is with great sorrow that we announce that the father of the Carthusian studies Professor James Lester Hogg completed his labours and joined the Lord on November 18, 2018.

He was founding director of the University of Salzburg Press, having published, in excess of 550 books in his “Salzburg Studies in English Literature” series between 1971 and 1998. One branch of his publishing programme was devoted to republishing books by British poets neglected by mainstream publishers. Between 1994 and 2000 he also co-edited the The Poet’s Voice magazine .

Between 1971 and 1996 James taught at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Salzburg. His many academic publications comprise such diverse fields of studies as contemporary British literature, Elizabethan literature, Romantic poetry and Restoration drama. James also distinguished himself as a worldwide ‘cognoscente’ and historian of the Carthusian Order of which he had been a member, he took the habit as Fr. Aelred at the Chartreuse de Selignac on June 23, 1961; Professed in June 24, 1964 and sent to Farneta on November 22, 1965.  He left the Order on June 24, 1968.

In the “Analecta Cartusiana” series, founded by him in 1970, he had edited and published in excess of 300 volumes.

His work in the field of Carthusian studies brought him two gold medals in 2006, one from the Federal State of Lower Austria and one from the Bishop of St. Pölten. The same year the President of France, Jacques Chirac, nominated him as a Grand Officer of the Légion d’honneur for his decisive contribution to the recovery of the Carthusian memory.  In 2007 Queen Elizabeth II officially acknowledged his great services to academic research. In December 2009 the Vatican made him a Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester. 

A good friend, academic advisor and donor to St. Mary’s Hermitage and our library, having provided us a vast collection of research material on Carthusian History & Liturgy.  Always available to give research advice even when Ill. Fr. Ugo-Maria last heard from James last October when he sent James the latest transcript on Carthusian Liturgy for comment; James been in and out of hospital for some time and said that he would be going back to hospital.

A part of his life from the 70s onwards was dedicated to the documentary, historical, artistic and historiographical collation for the Carthusian Order, founded near Grenoble by Saint Bruno the Carthusian in 1084; a work which was condensed in the publishing of approximately 350 miscellaneous and monographic issues from all the Charterhouses particularly in Europe.

James actively participated in the “Congrés Internacional sobre les Cartoixes Valencianes (El Puig de Santa Maria, Altura and Serra, April 2003), and was one of the signatories of the ‘Manifesto Asociacion Cultural Cartuja Valldecrist‘ (Altura, January 2004), visiting the foundation of Cánava Valley for the last time in 2008. He was interviewed in Saó magazine, nº 308 (2006), on the occasion of the monograph ‘Les cartoixes valencianes: el silencio de la memòria’ and collaborated in the series’ Les cartoixes valencianes’ (13 chapters) for RTVV, broadcast in 2007.

Among the works published from Salzburg include those dedicated to the houses of Portaceli (Serra, Valencia), Valldecrist (Altura, Castellón), Aracristi (El Puig de Santa Maria, Valencia) and Viaceli (Orihuela, Alicante) – in addition to the female foundation of Benifassà (Castellón) -, as well as some of its most important inhabitants, such as Bonifacio Ferrer, Francisco de Aranda, Francisco Maresme, Juan de Nea, Juan Bautista Civera, Joaquín Alfaura, Juan Bautista Giner, etc.

Two of his last works in the Central European collection brought to light this year are dedicated to the Valencian Carthusian, Fray Bonifacio Ferrer (1350-†1417) brother of St. Vincent Ferrer, coinciding with the VI centenary of his death: his monograph (nº 336) and the collected minutes of the presentations of the seminar that were dedicated last April in Valencia, Altura and Segorbe (No. 338).

Some of the most distinguished historians of  the Valencian Carthusians, such as Francisco Fuster Serra, Josep-Marí Gómez i Lozano, Josep-Vicent Ferre Domínguez, Miguel Ángel Catalá Gorgues, Estefania Ferrer del Río or Albert Ferrer Orts among others, as well as the Cultural Association Cartuja de Valldecrist, of Altura (which paid him an emotional tribute in the autumn of 2008) want to express their condolences, as well as to remember at this moment an essentially good man determined to restore the silent memories of the Charterhouse.

A Requiem Mass was held for James (Frá Aelred) Hogg this morning at St. Mary’s Hermitage by Fr. Ugo-Maria, entrusting James to God’s love,  the salvific value of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

Requiescat in pace James.

Author: dom.Ugo-Maria

Catholic Priest - Hermit of Carthusian Charism, following the early and stricter Coutumes de Chartreuse (Rule) written about 1121-1128 written by Guigues du Chastel the 5th prior and Father General of Grande Chartreuse. Served as a curate and priest in Ireland for a while then moving to Devon as Parish Priest. A spell as Prison Chaplain and then Chaplain to the Railways (SouthEastern). Then a few years as a Diocesan Administrator, Vicar Forane, Vicar General and called as a Bishop (which I turned down). In the past I served as an officer in HM Armed Forces, lectured at Oxford, and teacher at the Royal School for Deaf children in Margate (now closed), for a spell (13 months) run an NHS hospital where I quickly realised that if you have no medical background and tend to use spreadsheets to reach a decision then you should not be running a hospital. Now I serve as Prior to the Hermits of Saint Bruno at St. Mary's Hermitage near Canterbury in Kent. I write on the Eremitic way of life although sometimes I tend to broach other subjects of interest, and occasionally undertake translations for Bishop Alistair from English to Italian. My life as a contemplative is extremely fulfilling and busy and I no longer have a public ministry which I occasionally miss especially the out-reach ministry. I also enjoy gardening on the hermitage grounds and as most gardeners will know its a never ending task, albeit quite rewarding. The hermitage also has some other residents, there is the hermitage guardian who is a layman who lives in rooms at the front of our hermitage and acts as a barrier/intermediary with the outside world; there is Jules a 4 year old Staffordshire terrier, who seems to know the Monastic Horarium and occasionally acts as a prompt, Augustus the tom cat who is 1 year old now and spends most of his time in the fields surrounding us catching moles, mice and rabbits (not so keen on birds) or in my cell when it gets too hot outside (he occasionally assist in writing my articles - having adopted the habit of falling asleep at my desk, occasionally waking and hitting the keyboard with his paw), Buffy who is 25 years old and Terra, her daughter who is 24 years old, female cats that were with me when I was parish priest at St. John Bosco's in Barnstaple. The two hens Hildegard (von Bingen) and Rosaline (of Villeneuve) who provide the eggs that we need, and then there is Topo Gigio a mouse who lives in one of our outhouses who is not scared of cats or people, can be quite vocal if you upset him by encroaching although quite frankly is no bother at all which is why he has been left alone. We currently also have 6 sheep outside in the field (not ours) but they do keep the grass cut. We are fortunate to have several fruit trees, Apples, Plums, Cherries, Pears, and 2 fig plants which I brought back from Sicily, quite a few herbs: mint, St. John's-wort, basil, chives, garlic, oregano, lemon balm, sage, chamomile, bay, echinacea, coriander, feverfew, lavender, valerian, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, cilantro and others, there are also many flowers, too many to list. My interests are mediaeval church & monastic history, ancient liturgies, the Old Catholic Movement, Nicene and post Nicene Fathers, Desert Fathers and Mothers and Carthusian history. I also speak Italian and German, Latin, Catalan, Sicilian and French although am rusty with some.

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