Father Edwin Stueber, OSB

EdwinSteuber2.jpg

Monk of Saint John's Abbey
Collegeville, Minnesota

Born: 22 February 1917
Professed: 11 July 1941
Ordained: 30 June 1946
Died: 27 June 2010


Edwin Stueber was the fifth of six children to Henrich and Margaret (Ries) Stueber on a farm not far from Ramey (near Little Falls), Minnesota, on February 22, 1917. His father, who lived to be 109 years old, had to be permanently hospitalized when Edwin was only two years old. The family then moved to New Ulm, where his grandparents and most of his relatives lived, and his family built a modest home there. Edwin lived there for eight years, attending Holy Trinity Elementary School.

Another trauma that marked young Edwin's life was the unexpected death of his mother when he was only ten years old. The children were dispersed among relatives, and he ended up on a farm with his uncle, who had six children of his own.

Edwin attended Holy Trinity High School in New Ulm and worked on various farms of relatives. His older brother, the future Father Everard Stueber OSB (1914-2001), encouraged Edwin as he struggled in his initial years at Holy Trinity. Even though Edwin began to think of a vocation to the priesthood, his experience with Latin was so unsuccessful that he pushed that idea to the back of his mind. During the Great Depression he worked on a farm for Loretto Hospital in New Ulm, which gave him some independence. He enjoyed his work with the sisters and, when necessity arose, became their chauffer.

The chaplain at Loretto Hospital took an interest in Edwin and his brother Everard and their vocations. After Everard had spent a year at Saint John's University studying for the priesthood, the chaplain asked Edwin if he had any desire to become a priest. Excited and hopeful, Edwin arrived for an interview with Abbot Alcuin Deutsch OSB, who accepted him. Edwin came to Saint John's in 1937, where he spent three years before entering the novitiate in 1940. He was given the name Sixtus, which he used until he resumed his baptismal name after the Second Vatican Council.

After finishing a BA degree in philosophy, Edwin continued his priesthood studies and was ordained on June 30, 1946. His first assignment was to assist at St. Bernard's parish in St. Paul. He spent twenty-eight years of his priestly life ministering there. He was subsequently appointed associate pastor at Seven Dolors Church in Albany and at St. Benedict's Church in the Bronx, New York. Father Edwin also served as hospital chaplain at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth and as chaplain at Divine Redeemer Hospital in South St. Paul.

Because of frail health, Father Edwin returned to Saint John's Abbey in 1983. During these retirement years, he was very active with interest in sports but most of all in studying numerous languages and music. He studied the entire Hebrew Old Testament in the original language as well as the New Testament in Greek. He learned Russian so he could read War and Peace in its original language. Father Edwin also learned to play the piano for his own recreation, preferring the sonatas of Beethoven. His passion for sports dwindled except for Notre Dame football, which he said was a seventy-year-old tradition for him.

Father Edwin's life, which started with so much hardship, developed into a long and effective pastoral ministry. One could not walk by his room in our retirement center without hearing some classical music or opera playing even in the middle of the night as he slept.

He kept his gentle spirit of humility throughout his long retirement, participating in community daily prayers and Mass until he was unable to do so.

Father Edwin died on June 27, 2010, in the retirement center at Saint John's Abbey. He is survived by a nephew, nieces, and cousins, and the community at Saint John's Abbey. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Father Edwin, on July 2, 2010, in Saint John's Abbey Church with interment in Saint John's 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 Edwin to your prayers.

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