Rev. Roman Robert Vanasse, O. Praem.

December 8, 1930 – October 7, 2017

Fr. Roman Vanasse, O. Praem.
Fr. Roman Vanasse, O. Praem.

Fr. Vanasse, age 86, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey and a Norbertine priest, passed into God’s Eternal Kingdom on October 7, 2017, the Memorial of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

Fr. Vanasse was born on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1930, in Fall River, Massachusetts, to Armand and Dora (Michaud) Vanasse. His home parish was Notre Dame De Lourdes Parish, Fall River.

He received a B.A. degree in philosophy from St. Norbert College (SNC) in 1957.

Upon entering St. Norbert Abbey, he was vested as a novice on August 28, 1954. He professed Simple Vows on August 28, 1956, Solemn Vows on August 28, 1959, and was ordained to the priesthood on September 1, 1960.

After graduating from SNC, Fr. Vanasse earned his S.T.D. in Systematic Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy; studied Biblical Languages in Chicago and Jerusalem; and completed two years of study at the Biblical Institute in Rome. Subsequently, he served as Novice Master at St. Norbert Abbey and then became a tenured professor of theology and director of the M.A. program at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. From 1984 to 1988, he was National Secretary for Education with the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in New York City. In 1988, he accepted a Vatican appointment as International Chaplain for Aid to the Church in Need at its headquarters in Germany. In 1996, he was appointed Administrator of the Canonry of Tepl-Obermedlingen-Mananthavady (Germany and India). In 1998, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of SNC. In 2002, he was appointed Administrator of the Norbertine Community at St. Joseph’s Priory in Queen’s Park, Western Australia, until 2005. He retired in 2006 and resided at St. Norbert Abbey.

Fr. Vanasse is survived by the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey; one sister, Claire Mersey; and a brother, Richard “Jim” Mayette.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Armand and Dora Vanasse, and a sister, Rita Jepsen.


Lauds of the Dead will be celebrated at the Church of St. Norbert Abbey at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 16, 2017.

Visitation will follow Lauds, and will continue throughout the day in the abbey Chapter Room until 3:45 p.m.

The Mass of Christian Burial, expressing our faith and hope in the promised glory of the Lord’s Resurrection, will be held in the abbey church at 4 p.m.; the Rt. Rev. Gary J. Neville, O. Praem., abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will serve as principal celebrant; the Rt. Rev. Eugene Hayes, O. Praem., abbot of St. Michael’s Abbey in Santa Anna, California, will offer the homily at the concelebrated funeral liturgy.

Burial will follow immediately in the St. Norbert Abbey Cemetery.

Ryan Funeral Home, De Pere, is in charge of the arrangements.

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