Podcast Episode 028: Not the Final Word

Pictured: The St. Norbert Abbey Cemetery | Photo by Sam Lucero (used with permission)

As October draws to a close and November begins, the Church once again presents us with the human reality of death in the celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. This comes at a poignant time for the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey as our co-hosts traveled back to the abbey to celebrate the life and death of a confrere.

Listen to how the Norbertine community prayerfully embraces the reality of death and clings to the hope of Christian resurrection and triumph over death!

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Rev. John Lawrence Bostwick, O. Praem.

August 14, 1946 – October 21, 2018

Fr. Bostwick, age 72, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey and a Norbertine priest, passed into God’s eternal kingdom on October 21, 2018.

Fr. Bostwick was born on August 14, 1946, in Cleveland to John and Ann (Mihlan) Bostwick. His home parish was St. Richard’s Parish, North Olmsted, Ohio.

Graduating in November 1968 from St. Norbert College (SNC), he received a B.A. in theology. In May 1979 he received an M.A. in counseling from St. Mary’s College, Winona, Minnesota, and a Th.M. in spirituality from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, California, in October 1990.

Upon entering St. Norbert Abbey, he was vested as a novice on August 28, 1964. He professed Solemn Vows on August 28, 1974, and was ordained to the priesthood on September 11, 1976.

Fr. Bostwick was a member of the faculty at Prémontré High School, Green Bay; Abbot Pennings High School, De Pere; and SNC. He served as a counselor at Prémontré High School and Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, Green Bay.

In addition, he was house superior of St. Michael Priory, Green Bay, and St. Joseph Priory, De Pere; master of novices and juniors at St. Norbert Abbey; and director of the Norbertine Center for Spirituality at St. Norbert Abbey. Fr. Bostwick was an adjunct faculty member at SNC. He resided at St. Norbert Abbey, working in internal ministry.

Fr. Bostwick is survived by the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey; his brother, James Bostwick; and two step-brothers, Larry White and Robert White. He is further survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; step-father, Lawrence White; and his brother, Daniel Bostwick.


Visitation will be held at the Church of St. Norbert Abbey beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2018, with Vespers of the Dead – Reception of the Body and concluding at 9 p.m.

Visitation will continue at the abbey on Friday, October 26, 2018, from 9 a.m. until 4 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 on Friday, October 26, 2018, at 4:30 p.m.; the Rt. Rev. Dane J. Radecki, O. Praem., abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will preside at the funeral liturgy; the Rev. Timothy D. Shillcox, O. Praem., will serve as homilist.

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

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

In the News

Norbertine Fr. John Bostwick, 72, dies
By Jeff Kurowski
October 24, 2018
The Compass

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

As seen in the Spring 2017 issue of St. Norbert College Magazine

Unto the Next Generation

By Breanna Mekuly ’12

St. Norbert College

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., teaching at St. Norbert College | Photo courtesy of St. Norbert College (used with permission)

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., teaching at St. Norbert College | Photo courtesy of St. Norbert College (used with permission)

The Rev. Matt Dougherty, O.Praem., ’09 is ministering alongside some of his own former mentors in a year of teaching on campus before he moves on to doctoral studies.

Dougherty is serving at St. Norbert in the theology and religious studies discipline, and also as vocation director and chaplain at the parish. “This is my first time teaching, and so far it’s been a blast!” he says. “I’ve always loved theology, and to talk to people about something (and some body – Christ!) you love for a ministry is such a blessing!”

Of other Norbertines who have recently taken vows, Dougherty is the only one currently teaching at St. Norbert.

“It’s great to have a lot of other young Norbertines in the community,” he says. At the same time, he’s enjoying the company and wisdom of elder priests in the order. “I am privileged to be able to live with guys who really formed and shaped St. Norbert Abbey and the college for the past 50 plus years. After all, the average age of the Norbertines at St. Norbert Abbey is around 74 years old! These men have so much wisdom to pass on to us young guys, and it’s great to hear their stories, and how things have changed over the years.”

Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., on his vestition day in 2009, assisted by Fr. John Tourangeau, O. Praem. Read more about vestition and the Norbertine religious habit in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 3) article, “De·con·struct·ing the Habit.”

Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., on his vestition day in 2009, assisted by Fr. John Tourangeau, O. Praem. Read more about vestition and the Norbertine religious habit in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 3) article, “De·con·struct·ing the Habit.”

Many of these men are the mentors who guided Dougherty through his own vocational discernment. He remembers the Rev. Jim Baraniak, O.Praem., ’88, the Rev. Tim Shillcox, O.Praem., the Rev. John Bostwick, O.Praem., ’68, and the Rev. Alfred McBride, O.Praem., ’50 – all present on campus while Dougherty was a student. They not only taught him theology, but also provided spiritual direction, confession, and even lessons on the history of the Norbertine order.

Though Dougherty’s current positions focus on religion and theology, he is academically as interested in learning more about freshwater ecosystems, or aquatic ecology. His undergraduate degree was in organismal biology and he has hopes to continue studying aquatic ecology at the doctoral level in the fall of 2017. He anticipates that this doctoral degree will allow him to teach courses at St. Norbert College in the science department, or possibly on the intersection of religion and science.

I love helping students be challenged and affirmed in their faith.

—Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

As a young priest working at the college, Dougherty says, “I’ve been afforded the opportunity to try to bring the Catholic faith and Norbertine charism to the next generation.” And this is important to him; he believes the Norbertine presence on campus is necessary to continue the Norbertine and Catholic identity of the college.

“I look forward to introducing the students to these values,” Dougherty says. “It’s a big task, but a rewarding one!”

He is most interested in sharing the Norbertine value of communio. The word, as he understands it, means “trying to live in unity with God and others within a locality.” Communio, he believes, should then “combat individualism and divisiveness by claiming that before God we are one family, no matter our differences, and therefore we have responsibilities toward each other.”

With this, he hopes that St. Norbert College students, faculty and staff will continue to foster Norbertine values by maintaining peaceful community – regardless of division – and then proceeding to build more such communities wherever they may go next.

Fisher of Men

“I grew up in Waukesha, Wis., and I come from a proud Irish-Catholic family. Fishing and hunting are my passions. I’ve been fishing since I was a little kid, and have loved it ever since. It’s hard for me to look at a body of water without getting a strong urge to grab a rod and reel. My interest in hunting came a little later in college, but still remains a passion of mine. Aside from the outdoors, I really like good literature, good cigars, and good discussions!

“I love helping students be challenged and affirmed in their faith. I found my faith as a freshman at St. Norbert. In it I found a new way of looking at the world, and it changed my life. I’d love to help other students have a similar experience.”

– The Rev. Matt Dougherty, O.Praem., ’09

As seen in the Fall/Winter 2015 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 14-15)

A Priest for the People

By Katrina Marshall

On June 6, 2015, Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., was ordained to the priesthood.

Through ritual actions that contribute uniquely to the Rite of Ordination, he was given insight into his new identity. Of the major elements in this rite, first to occur was the Rite of Election, connecting the soon-to-be ordained with the faithful by asking their assent of his worthiness to fulfill priestly office. Bishop Robert Morneau (Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Green Bay) asked Abbot Gary Neville, O. Praem. (representing the Norbertine community of St. Norbert Abbey and the entire People of God),

Do you know him to be worthy?

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

“You can’t help but feel humbled and a little bit nervous by that question, honestly,” shared Fr. Dougherty, reflecting on his ordination day. “Humbling is the best word. Because how can anyone be worthy—to perform the Sacraments, to follow Christ in that way? There’s a fear: am I really up for it? In a way, I’m not worthy. I don’t think anyone is worthy of such a gift.”

Following dialogue between Bishop Morneau and Abbot Neville affirming his worthiness, Fr. Dougherty received a lengthy round of approving applause—recognition of Christ working in him and an implicit invitation to enter into the lives of everyone.

“Amid feelings of unworthiness, to feel affirmation for my vocation through the applause was amazing,” said Fr. Dougherty. “Perhaps one of the most demanding pieces of priestly formation is coming to terms with one’s self: ‘Who am I to be a priest?’ Priesthood is an awesome gift and an awesome responsibility. These people are lifting you up to be their servant. By showing their assent, you are for them … to share in their most intimate moments, the ups and downs. Today, as a priest, I remain grateful. Never have I felt closer to God. Never have I experienced a stronger sense of identity or purpose. I am not a priest for myself, but a priest for Christ, his Church, and the world—I am a priest for the people.”

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