Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beacon of Light in America: Fr. Robert Altier

I have known him for twenty years.

Easily the very finest priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

And one of the very finest priests the Church in the New World has ever produced. 

A mystic.  Holiest guy I have ever come to know.  He has the diligence of prayer.  He is very good at being a priest.

In high school we saw him make his daily hour each morning in the crypt chapel of the Church of St. Agnes.  Such a witness it was to all of us high school students next door. 

He was my spiritual director and confessor.  I was his altar server.  Best confessor I ever had.  My penance was always the same: "Say one Hail Mary, VERY well." 

He taught me mental prayer.  No one else had ever explained to me how mental prayer works.

Best preacher I have ever heard anywhere on the planet earth.  And nicest guy.  He even came to my home a couple of times when I was in college to hang out with myself and some fellow seminarians.  Another time he came to bless the home. Always there for people. 

He has always been available to give counsel and this is very important for a priest with cura animarum.  And the best counsel he gave.  This is where he saved souls.  And many of the souls who came to him were more advanced in the spiritual life.  And he knew how to take this into consideration - where people were at.  

He helped me choose the right college.  He even taught a course I took in high school.  He was the most talented teacher on the staff at St. Agnes High School.  Everyone's favorite.  His daily Mass was at 6 am.  It was a comfort to know he was near.   

Can I sum him up in one word?  Yes, holy.  A second word?  Yes, wise.  I never once saw him angry, rude or mean.  He has made a lot of converts.  In fact, he has more converts under his belt than any parish priest I know. Just ask around. 

I made my first good confession as an adult to him in the mountains of Colorado in 1993 and I will forever be grateful to him.  Afterwards he shook my hand with a big smile.  He had just given one of the best sermons on Confession I have ever heard before or since and he gave me wise spiritual counsel that day.

Sadly, though, the good guys always suffer.  And they are quiet about it.  Just read the lives of the saints.  Misunderstandings come their way.  They are maligned, they are victims of calumny, they are falsely accused, blamed and lied about.  Priest AND victim.

But in this suffering lies their sanctification.  Suffering is necessary for sanctification.  Rev. and dear Father, thank you for all that you have given me.  In fact, I wish you a life of great suffering, because in that crucible you will find your sanctification.  Keep doing the Lord's work.  Your spiritual sons and daughters are many.

May God be praised for his saints!  


  1. Very good praise for a fine gentleman, scholar and priest. Fr. Altier and I studied philosophy together and he was really cool. He would ask the basic questions that others were too nervous to ask and the teachers liked that. St. John Vianney was a mess when we were in school at CST and fortunately, Msgr. Schuler opened his house for a bunch of us on Thursday nights. He smiled as we complained about the garbage at St. John Vianney seminary. Yes, suffering is part of the project and I'm glad Fr. Altier has found a place to celebrate the ancient rite. Please tell him I said, Hi.

  2. Praised be Jesus, now and forever! I had never heard of Fr Altier until the Holy Spirit arranged for me to travel to Salt Lake City Utah and set up a booth at a conference on behalf of Mary Mother of God Mission Society, to support re-evangelization of the Catholic Church in Far East Russia. Fr Altier was one of the conference speakers. There were some other famous headliners at that conference. However, Fr Altier was the best speaker at the whole conference and I will never forget meeting him and discussing several of his points. Yes....a holy and saintly true priest of God. I have been keeping him in prayers and will double up at my next 3 a.m Holy Hour. God Bless you, Fr Altier and may our Heavenly Mother wrap you tightly in her mantle and hug you close to her heart of burning love!

  3. Wow - I had some how forgotten about Father and your article brought it all back. I remember listening to some of his sermons on my iPad as I flew from place to place as a trainer. I passed many good hours with him out over the Atlantic wrapped up in his most wonderful way of explaining thing. May God bless him