This is the priest who most formed me in my youth. He had studied at Louvain before the war. My father had been his altar boy and then I, too, had the same honor. My parents were with him when he passed away. He loved to hear Confessions. While in the 8th grade he became my weekly confessor. He was a holy man. After I made my Confession he would always say: "That was a very good Confession. Remember that it was God's grace that brought you here." I will never forget those words, or his mercy. I wept bitterly at his funeral.
He was my uncle; my mother was his youngest sister. He left home at 14 to study for the priesthood and later in his matriculation, after Nazareth Hall,was in Europe when WWII broke out. In the late 50's he had a black chevy with a white top and a red interior that was given to him by the parishioners at Nativity. I know this since he would come out to our house on Goose Lake Rd. in Gem Lake 10 miles northeast of St. Paul and spend a week with us during his summer vacation. He would take my brothers and I fishing in that car. We loved it.ReplyDelete
His bigger reason for visiting was to live with a family and watch the dynamic since he couldn't console on what he didn't know. He divulged this to my mother and she was more than happy to oblige him. He would wander the yard during his morning, the matins I believe, and evening prayers with his prayer book and we would leave him to himself as he murmured. He was very even keeled; I never saw him cross, but once. It was very much later in a modern Catholic church for a wedding at which he was a guest. The tabernacle wasn't visible to the faithful and he commented on it several times.
Later as he drifted with Alzheimer's disease and was being cared for by the sainted Little Sisters of the Poor, my brother Mike would stop by to bring him to my parents home for occasions. He was happy in his forgetfulness...still kind, still gentle. Anyway he remarked to Mike that he had rooms throughout the country, but that they were always the same and how did the good sisters do that? It turns out that he was dropped off at assorted entrances upon many returns and thought that he was at a different care center each time.
I miss him always and hope that he dismisses my transgressions. Thank you for the kind words. People live forever. Be good.
Awesome. The man was a saint.ReplyDelete
Fr. Steiner often spoke of his uncles in White Bear and of his visits there as a kid. And of his parents and sisters and family.
By the way, do you have any old photos of him I can post here on the blog?
When he was moved into the nursing home I helped in the move and saw that he had hundreds of nice old black and white photos in boxes (many pics of him in Belgium in '39 and '40).
Larry came and took everything, but didn't seem very interested in any of the boxes of treasures. I have always hoped the family kept and held onto these historical items.
Drop me a line: ioannessonnen at yahoo dot com.