“Your Superior should not take pleasure in ruling you, but rather in serving you in all charity.”
Father Robert-Charles Bengry GSmp serves as the Prior of the Canons Regular of St. Gilbert of Sempringham (GSmp) and as the Magister of the wider Gilbertine spiritual family currently taking shape within the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. He also serves as the Parish Priest at St. John the Evangelist in Calgary.
Fr. Robert-Charles was born and raised on the Canadian prairie but has lived and served in British Columbia and Manitoba as well. Father earned a Bachelor of Design, Diploma of Christian Studies and Master of Divinity in Vancouver and served a three-point rural parish in the Anglican Diocese of Brandon for seven years. He became a Benedictine in 2006 and, since his Confirmation as a Roman Catholic, has been actively establishing a modest Gilbertine restoration.
As Prior, Fr. Robert-Charles leads the community of Canons Regular. As Magister he is responsible for articulating and promoting the wider Gilbertine mission and charism.
Father Robert-Charles took the Religious and Confirmation name “Charles” after St. Charles Borromeo who was known for his reforming efforts; Robert, his given name, recalls his other personal patron St. Robert Bellarmine.
Prior Robert-Charles Bengry’s Arms
Coats of arms were historically borne by British and European land-holders as marks of distinction and as a means of identification. The adoption of heraldry by the clergy came from similar needs and became more and more popular as a result of their involvement in civil administration. Ecclesiastical heraldry evolved from a means of sealing civil and religious documents to a system for identifying people and dioceses. Today, there is still an opportunity for clergy to use heraldic devices to seal documents, but more often, it is a way for churches and church leaders to give symbolic representation of their beliefs as well as to identify their particular roles in the Church.
Our Prior was granted a coat of arms by the Heraldic Authority of Canada in 2011, as can be seen above. The design includes a crown or ‘Loyalist Coronet’ (every crown ultimately symbolises the kingship of Christ) as well as a ‘voided cross’ which is a symbol of the resurrection. His motto is “Rejoice in Christ”. He was also granted a badge, composed of the same cross and crown, which is used by our wider Gilbertine family as a symbol of unity.
The gold and blue in the design recall the Canadian Prairie where Father Bengry was born and raised and where his ancestors toiled as pioneers. The colours also represent the wheat of the Holy Eucharist and the waters of Holy Baptism; the gold also represents Christ Himself while blue is the traditional colour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The coronet recognises his Loyalist ancestry and ultimately symbolises the kingship of Christ. The voided cross reminds us of the resurrection and alludes to his primary identity as a Christian. Motto: Meaning “Rejoice in Christ” in Old English.
Per fess Azure and Or, in chief a Loyalist civil coronet and in base a cross couped voided throughout counterchanged. Motto: GEFEOÞ CHRISTES.