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Remembering Fr. Basil Reuss, O. Praem.

Cemetery Wreaths 2016“Come let us worship …”

For Christmas 2016, in a touching tribute to their confreres who have passed into God’s Eternal Kingdom, members of the Norbertine community placed a Christmas wreath on each headstone in the St. Norbert Abbey cemetery. Below, several Norbertines share their thoughts about the headstones they selected and the impact that these respective Norbertines had on their lives.

Watch the video »

By Fr. Sebastian Schalk, O. Praem.

Fr. Basil Reuss, O. Praem.

Fr. Basil Reuss, O. Praem.

Fr. Basil Reuss, O. Praem. († March 20, 1959), had a special influence on my life in giving me a reason to profess temporary vows at the end of my two-year novitiate.

The story begins with my wanting to know if I was making the right decision to abandon my career as an engineer at the Western Electric Company in order to enter the Norbertine Order.

All of the fraters made a retreat every year in August, and in 1956 Fr. Reuss preached this retreat for second-year novices, who were preparing to profess their first vows on August 28. Something he said at one of the conferences encouraged me to consult him personally. His counsel gave me what I needed in order to profess the three-year vows with my classmates.

Remembering:

Remembering Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem.

Cemetery Wreaths 2016“Come let us worship …”

For Christmas 2016, in a touching tribute to their confreres who have passed into God’s Eternal Kingdom, members of the Norbertine community placed a Christmas wreath on each headstone in the St. Norbert Abbey cemetery. Below, several Norbertines share their thoughts about the headstones they selected and the impact that these respective Norbertines had on their lives.

Watch the video »

By Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem.

Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem.

I chose to remember Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem. († December 4, 2003), because of my delightful times with him designing sets for his musicals. Several shows hold special memories:

  1. “South Pacific”: Guy wanted the proscenium arch flanked with palm trees. I designed trees that were stage height and each leaf took a full roll of crepe paper. I climbed to the top of the ladder to install the leafy structures and the ladder broke in the center and I came sliding down the wall. Lying on the floor, Guy ministered to my needs.
  1. “My Fair Lady”: Eric Butikus designed the sets: 22- and 14-foot revolving platforms with multiple sets on each occupied the stage floor. The large turntable had a circular staircase that was mounted from off-stage. Unfortunately, when the large table turned, it bumped the small table! Unnerved, Guy told Eric to redesign it. Eric refused and left the stage. Guy and I went to the gym with a large roll of butcher paper and laid out the drawing for each step to assure maximum clearing. It worked like a charm. The audience cheered when they witnessed the table turn and Eliza dismount the staircase! Guy could not have been more pleased.
  1. “Brigadoon”: Guy was delighted with my Arcadian dream scene of trees blooming with tissue-colored leaves.

We spent 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, from dawn to dusk, on-stage creating the sets, after which we adjourned to the priory kitchen to cook dinner together.

At rehearsals Guy sat in the top row of the balcony and would yell at the cast, “I can’t hear you!” He refused to use mikes or employ stand-in actors, in case someone became sick! Being a thespian myself I asked him not to be so hard on the kids. He complied as best he could.

Remembering:

Remembering Fr. Aaron Walschinski, O. Praem., and Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem.

Cemetery Wreaths 2016“Come let us worship …”

For Christmas 2016, in a touching tribute to their confreres who have passed into God’s Eternal Kingdom, members of the Norbertine community placed a Christmas wreath on each headstone in the St. Norbert Abbey cemetery. Below, several Norbertines share their thoughts about the headstones they selected and the impact that these respective Norbertines had on their lives.

Watch the video »

By Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

Five days before Christmas, I joined several dozen Norbertine priests, brothers, and fraters in adorning the gravestones of our deceased Norbertine confreres. What drew me to help memorialize Fr. Aaron Walschinski, O. Praem. (“Fr. Wally,” † December 7, 1989), and Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem. († January 30, 2000)?

Fr. Wally and I were 26 years apart and Fr. Alan and I were 19 years apart—minor age differences in a community in which the pre-baby boom generation dominated. Age differences have never prevented me from becoming a close friend to another Norbertine. Though I was a dear friend to each man, the two were very different people.


Fr. Aaron "Wally" Walschinski, O. Praem.

Fr. Aaron “Wally” Walschinski, O. Praem.

Fr. Wally made me laugh. And, as a very serious person, I needed all of the amusement that I could get! We shared interests in library and archival work, and Dairy Queen Blizzard® Treats. Fr. Wally and I worked in the abbey library and archives together in 1988 and 1989. Abbot Benjamin Mackin, O. Praem., knowing my of interest in libraries and archives AND knowing of Fr. Wally’s declining health, asked me to assist Fr. Wally. Fr. Wally and I also spent time together with other Norbertines on our community property in Northern Wisconsin.

I enjoyed his memories of life in Philadelphia and as a St. Norbert College photographer. One of my fondest memories of this amiable Norbertine was at an annual “Steve Herro-Sponsored Brewers Outing.” About 20 Norbertines and Herros celebrated together. The tailgate party ended and we began to walk to our seats. My brother-in-law Andy, who is as sociable as Fr. Wally was, struck up a conversation with him, asking him his name, where he was from, etc. The two quickly realized that they shared a lot in common—including me! The party was more than 90 minutes long before the two realized that they were invited by the same person.


Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem. (right)

Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem. (right)

Fr. Alan and I had very similar personalities: serious, learned, introverted, and perfectionistic. We were both very disciplined in what we ate and how we exercised. Perhaps I shared my feelings with him more intimately than I did with any other Norbertine. He was a very provocative man, and he seemed to especially love to challenge the younger Norbertines to live our vows more authentically.

His years serving in low-income communities in Chicago (when he met a South Side community organizer named Barack Obama) have been a constant inspiration to me in my own ministry and discernment. He became seriously ill in 1998. I was seeking a new ministry in 1999 when I returned to De Pere to live and serve among my confreres. As my mother said when I shared Fr. Alan’s condition with her, “Maybe that is why God is calling you back to De Pere.”

Remembering:

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