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In Memoriam: Laurence Shook (1909-93)


On 23 October 1993, in the Basilian Fathers' Residence in the Cardinal Flahiff Basilian Center, Reverend Laurence Shook died peacefully of heart failure. He was buried the following week at the Basilian plot in Thornhill north of Toronto.

Born in Toronto, Father Shook received degrees in history, philosophy, and English literature from the University of Toronto, and completed his doctorate in English philology at Harvard University. He began teaching at St. Michael's College in 1940, and served as a part-time chaplain in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He was president of St. Michael's from 1952-58, and in 1961 he became president of the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, a post he held until 1973. During this time he was an adviser to the Canadian bishops during the Second Vatican Council. He was made officer of the Order of Canada in 1975 and served as president of the Medieval Academy of America from 1978-81.

His scholarly work included a biography of Etienne Gilson, whose works – The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and Héloise and Abelard – he also translated. He is remembered among Anglo-Saxonists for his studies on Guthlac A, the Old English Charms, and the Riddles.