Brother Stephen Galban, O.S.B.



            BORN: JULY 30, 1927

            PROFESSED: DEC. 8, 1965

            DIED: JANUARY 20, 2018

Brother Stephen Galban, 90, monk of Mount Saviour Monastery, Elmira, NY, slept peacefully into eternity at the Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse in Rochester, NY, early in the morning of January 20, 2018. Born Juan in Havana, Cuba, the son of Juan Galban and Maria Diaz, he was educated at an American school and received his degree in architecture from the University of Havana in 1952. At the age of 33 he emigrated to the United States. Well versed in English language and culture, he felt right at home. “I am a Cuban-American,” he would say. Upon reading The Silent Life of Thomas Merton, Juan was inspired to seek out the monastic way of life at Mount Savior Monastery. He joined the monks in 1960 and was given the name Stephen. On December 8, 1965, he made solemn profession. With Merton still in mind, from 1967 to 1988 he lived as a hermit in a little cottage on the monastery property, built by friends from Corning Glass. The entire time he remained faithful to the monastery’s work schedule, returning to his hermitage after his chores. The solitude and silence agreed with him. He got a loom, learned how to weave, and created numerous very attractive priestly stoles. He was also an avid painter, and his paintings, with their keen sense of geometry and vibrant coloring, demonstrated his knowledge of architectural design. Along with his excellent artwork and weaving, Br. Stephen is known for his writing, photography, and organization of the monastery’s collections of stamps, coins, photographs, postcards, drafting and design work. His labor included milking the cows, working in the guest house, laundry and sacristy, as porter at the front desk, and making rosaries. In later years, when he was in the infirmary area of the monastery, he could always be seen in his room with his dog-eared copy of the Bible in hand, engaged in his primary labor of  love—prayer.

Br. Stephen is survived by his brother monks of Mount Saviour, his stepbrothers Carlos Galban of Miami, Fl, and Octavio Galban of Tallahassee, Fl, as well as a number of nieces and nephews and their children.


Calling hours will be from 3-5pm and 7-8pm on Monday, January 22, 2018 in the Chapel of Mount Saviour Monastery. Funeral Mass will be 9am Tuesday, January 23, 2018 followed by a reception in the Newell Room at the monastery. Interment will be in the spring at the Mount Saviour Cemetery at a date yet to be determined.


The brothers extend their deepest gratitude to the Sisters of St. Joseph and the nursing team, especially Cathy, at the Motherhouse for all their help and wonderful care of Br. Stephen, as well as to Br. Stephen’s guardian angel, Becky, who was particularly and lovingly attentive to his needs during his final period of decline. Please remember Br. Stephen in your prayers.