Brother Samuel Lickteig, OSB


Monk of Saint John's Abbey
Collegeville, Minnesota

Born: 27 November 1924
Professed: 7 October 1951
Died: 24 April, 2011

Paul Lickteig was born the twelfth child of fifteen children to Stephen and Catherine (Cassady) Lickteig in Austin, Minnesota, on November 27, 1924. His oldest sister Mary took special interest in Paul and guided him in his development as a young man. Paul faced significant health problems at birth and throughout his childhood. He had spastic paralysis in his right arm, suffered at the time of his birth. At the age of four, while playing, he backed into a pan of boiling water that spilled over his legs and hips, burning him severely. Not expected to survive the accident, Paul was nursed back to health over the months through the care he received in the hospital.

In 1930 Paul attended a one-room rural school in Austin, Minnesota, and remained grateful to his teacher, Kathleen Eppen, who taught him for four years, instilling in him a passion for learning and for the beauty of nature. During his last year in school, Paul had surgery on his hand and foot at the Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children in St. Paul, Minnesota. Over his four-month stay, Paul improved enough to return home and continue physical therapy.

In 1938 Paul enrolled in Austin Central High School and graduated with honors four years later. Paul and his family could not afford college, but a counselor who knew the Benedictine monks, Fathers Walter Reger OSB and Damian Baker OSB, insisted that he attend Saint John's University. After a visit to Saint John's in early August 1942, Paul was awarded a generous scholarship by Abbot Alcuin Deutsch OSB. Father Walter became his mentor. Paul received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics from Saint John's University in 1946. His organizational leadership was ably demonstrated while he served as co-editor of the student newspaper, The Record, in 1945 and editor of the 1946 college yearbook, The Sagatagan.

After graduation Paul began working in the registrar's office at Saint John's University as well as doing some teaching in mathematics and economics. He also began taking courses in Latin and theology. During the summer of 1949 he attended summer school at Fordham University in New York City.

In 1950 Abbot Alcuin offered Paul entrance to the monastery as an oblate (lay brother). As things turned out, Paul entered the clerical novitiate, taking the religious name of Samuel. Brother Sam, as he became affectionately known, made his first profession of vows as a Benedictine monk on October 7, 1951. He worked in the business office from 1951 to 1956 and served as a mathematics instructor at Saint John's Preparatory School from 1953-1990. In 1966 he received a master's degree in mathematics from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Brother Sam was the first non-ordained monk to be a teacher at Saint John's Preparatory School. In 1971 the prep school awarded him the Great Teacher Award; in 1985, the school honored him with its highest award, the Armor of Light Award; and in 1989 the prep board of overseers presented him with the Distinguished Service Award.

Brother Samuel had many interests and avocations. For years he planned the annual Gasthaus, a fundraiser for the preparatory school, and during summers he decorated Saint Michael's Hall (prep residence) for the German summer camps while serving as camp treasurer. He assisted Brother Gregory Eibensteiner OSB in completing the annual inventory for the abbey woodworking shop. In his retirement he assisted in the abbey archives and also volunteered for special events at the preparatory school.

After more than forty years of teaching and working in the prep school, Brother Sam suffered a slight stroke and retired to the abbey in Saint Raphael Hall where he continued to take an active interest in the preparatory school and his friends and family.

Brother Samuel died on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011, in the retirement center at Saint John's Abbey. He is survived by two sisters, Rita Lickteig of Austin, Minnesota, and Thomasine Farnsworth of Yukon, Oklahoma; many loving nieces, nephews, and friends; and the community at Saint John's Abbey. The monks, family, and friends will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for Brother Sam on Thursday, April 28, 2011, at 3:30 p.m. in Saint John's Abbey Church with interment in Saint John's Abbey Cemetery following the service.

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 Samuel to your prayers.

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