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Prior Provincial pays tribute to Fr. David Waite
06 June 2011

Fr. David Waite, O.Carm., died peacefully at Aylesford Priory on the morning of Monday 6th June 2011. The Prior Provincial, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, has written the following biography in tribute to David.

David Waite was born at Caterham in Surry in 1946. The family moved to Fetcham near Leatherhead and it was to be the family home. David had a younger brother Michael. David went to the Catholic primary school at Leatherhead and his secondary education was with the Jesuits at Wimbledon. He enjoyed his time there and is remembered by his contemporaries.

After a short spell in the Civil Service David went to Lancaster University gaining an MA in economics. He went on to work in the Bank of England for five years.

Going on a vocations course at Allington Castle led David to join the Carmelites and he was professed as a friar at Aylesford Priory in 1977.

After studies in Rome, and gaining a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, David taught at Whitefriars Cheltenham (now St. Edwards School).

David completed his theological studies in Dublin and ministered as a deacon at English Martyrs, Walworth.

After his priestly ordination in 1990 David went on to teach and act as Chaplain at St. Edwards.

David was back on the parish team at Walworth for three years before being appointed Parish Priest at Aberystwyth.

Fr. David with Fr. Richard Copsey
a break during the 2002 Provincial Chapter

David left Aberystwyth and spent some time in Rome as librarian at Sant'Alberto (Saint Albert's College) and also became involved in the painstaking task of preparing the annual Carmelite Bibliography for the Order's academic journal Carmelus. While enjoying the work David found living in Rome somewhat lonely and he came back to Britain.

David presiding at the Eucharist during a Carmelite Third Order retreat in 2010.

Over the years David helped as community bursar and oversaw the wellbeing of the libraries at Aylesford and East Finchley. He also agreed to take on again the preparation of the Carmelite Bibliography. Over this period he continued to help in the ministry of welcome at Aylesford.

Fr. David distributing Holy Communion to pilgrims at Aylesford Priory

David with the Prior General of the Carmelite Order, Fr. Fernando Millán Romeral,
at the Provincial Chapter of the British Province, April 2011

In 2010 the Prior General asked David to become the Order's Archivist.  David agreed, and technically remained a member of the Curia community until his death. However, no sooner had he arrived in Rome than illness struck. He was given great loving care by the brethren but despite his illness he asked to return to Britain. In the midst of atrocious weather he came back safely and was given excellent care at Maidstone Hospital. David was able to come back to Aylesford where he felt at home and at peace.

Fr. David with Fr. Francis Kemsley enjoying the peace of Aylesford Priory's grounds

From that time to his death today, June 6th, David was able to live his Carmelite life in a spirit of peace and joy.

He managed to finish off work on the Carmelite Bibliography and he was able to join the community for prayer and its daily life.

The Oncology Department at Maidstone Hospital gave him great support and Trish Golledge the Province Nurse was a great help to him.

David preaching the Gospel at the Third Order's National Gathering in May 2011.

What was significant in this time was David's concern for others. He came to the last part of his journey open to God’s will and conscious that he was loved by the community.

David died in the early hours of June 6th, and his last words were to offer his death as a reparation for peace.

Fr. David's body will be received into the Relic Chapel at Aylesford Priory at 6pm on Sunday 12th June. A Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 11.30am on Monday 13th June, followed by burial in the Province Cemetery.