Friday, April 27, 2012

Superior General at the Council

Yours truly will always remember the time when as a teenager I found myself at the train station in Assisi waiting for one of the last trains to Rome.

It was late and seated were two Romanian sisters with an elderly Franciscan, this brilliant and saintly man.

He introduced himself as Fr. Basil Heiser, an American priest from Indiana who lived in Rome.

We chatted the whole way back.  Such a learning experience.  He first moved to Rome in the 1930s and at the time of the Council was the Superior General of the Conventual Friars Minor.  Therefore, he was at the Council for all four sessions in his official capacity as the superior general of a very large and venerable religious congregation. 

He was an eyewitness to history and had a lot to share.  God bless him.  He was in his nineties then.  He spoke of the great loss of tonsure.  We arrived in Rome and he got us a taxi at Termini.  Such a nice guy.  He invited us to visit XII Apostoli so that he could celebrate Holy Mass for us in Latin.

I love the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ.   I have been so formed by fine priests.  Rev. and dear Father, thank you for having taken the time to be nice, to say hello and to chat with me, just a kid.   You never know when you touch a soul.  Just light a match.


  1. Thanks for the great story and reflection. Vatican II had many brilliant and holy participants.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful post!
    Fr. Basil died just a few years ago shortly after his 100th birthday. He was greatly loved and revered throughout our order. It is said that he was offered the episcopacy several times but always respectfully declined in favor of remaining a simple Franciscan friar/priest. He was devoted to religious life and was a sought after spiritual director and advisor to many communities of sisters.
    Bro. Augustine Kelly, OFM,Conv (CONVENTUAL)

  3. A Wonderful and gracious man.The year that I entered the novitiate of our OrderI was sent through my uncle (at that time provincial of the Irish Christian Brothers in Victoria and Tasmania here in Australia)a beautiful card welcoming me into the Order.His hand writing was BEAUTIFUL. I met him many years later in 1998 in Rome and when he found out that I was about to celebrate the Traditional mass in the Church of the Apostles Phillip and James to which our Order is attached he was delighted and said we have lost much.
    Fr Terence Mary Naughtin ,OFM,Conv (Conventual) Australia

  4. John, please: Friars Minor CONVENTUAL, not "CONVENTIONAL" :-))