Brother Linus Thomas Ascheman, OSB


Monk of Saint John's Abbey
Collegeville, Minnesota

Born: December 31, 1948
Professed: July 11, 1975
Died: June 27, 2007


Thomas was born in Benson, Minnesota, on December 31, 1948, to Alfred and Vina (Newell) Ascheman. He was their tenth child. Besides five brothers and four sisters, Thomas also counted two step-sisters and one step-brother among his loved ones.

Thomas earned a bachelor's degree from Saint John's University in 1970 and entered the novitiate of Saint John's Abbey in 1971. He chose to be named Linus after the sainted successor to St. Peter as Bishop of Rome. He readily volunteered as a member of the Saint John's Fire Department and remained active until 1977. Brother Linus professed first monastic vows on July 11, 1972.

As a junior monk, Brother Linus served as an instructor in the Preparatory School from 1972 to 1973. In 1973 he became managing editor of The Ordo and master of liturgical ceremonies until 1977. From 1973 until 1980 he was assistant to the university's president, Father Michael Blecker OSB, when Brother Linus developed his organizational talent by coordinating the changing use of classroom and office spaces during the extensive renovation of the second and third floors of the main quadrangle. Brother Linus professed solemn monastic vows on July 11, 1975.

From 1977 to 1980 Brother Linus was Director of Planning for Saint John's University. He served one year as a faculty resident, 1977 to 1978.

In 1980 Abbot Jerome Theisen OSB appointed Brother Linus to be Headmaster of Saint John's Preparatory School. During his tenure, he fostered curricular reform by adding advanced level classes, by strengthening the music and studio arts programs and by rehabilitating the residency program. His successor garnered the rewards of the $5.5 million capital campaign Brother Linus had launched on April 8, 1988. He left the Prep School in 1988 to complete a master's degree in business administration at the University of San Diego in 1991.

Returning to campus in 1991, Brother Linus began his highly fulfilling work as Director of Physical Plant. In 1994 he was named Assistant Treasurer, Physical Plant.

Brother Linus died suddenly early Wednesday evening, June 27, at St. Cloud Hospital. He had suffered a massive heart attack on campus. Emergency personnel rushed Brother Linus, fortified by the Anointing of the Sick, to St. Cloud.

The President of Saint John's University, Brother Dietrich Reinhart OSB, wrote about his novitiate classmate: "Linus was a dedicated, decent and down-to-earth person. He worked hard. He brought a fierce mind to whatever task was set before him. I will always be grateful for his great care for this campus and all its people, for his tenacity and humor, for his tangible service of others from sunrise to sunset. We have lost one of the great ones."

Annually Brother Linus would compete with his sister, Geneva, growing organic tomatoes that were much appreciated every summer in the monastic refectory. Brother Linus was rarely seen without a diet cola nearby. His unflappable manner and the full attention he gave to any with whom he talked made each person feel heard and special. His mind, crammed with details, never lost the ability to provide an overall vision. The completion of the Abbey Guesthouse in January 2007 allowed him to focus on two campus landmarks. This spring saw the beginning of the renovation of the Stella Maris Chapel on Lake Sagatagan and the expansion of Saint John's Cemetery for alumni, friends, and Oblates.

Brother Linus is survived by his brothers and sisters, John, James, Geneva Cameron and Donna Chevalier of Clontarf; Michael of Lonsdale; Patricia Staton of Faribault; Shirley Schumacher of Amery, and Al of New Richmond, Wisconsin; Donald, Schwenksville, Pennsylvania; and his step-sisters and brother: Virginia Vaughn Restivo, Houston, Texas; Alice Marie Vaughn, Dubuque, Iowa; and Russell V. Moran, Denver, Colorado.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Brother Linus at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 2, 2007, in Saint John's Abbey Church with interment in Saint John's Cemetery following the service. Memorials to Saint John's in lieu of flowers.

We ask each community member to offer two Masses according to the manner of his participation in the priesthood of Christ. We commend our brother, Linus, to your prayers.

Abbot John Klassen OSB and the monks of Saint John's Abbey.