News Archive 2008


December 2, 2008



Rest In Peace
Father Placidus Zach, OSB


Father Placidus Zach, OSB (88) a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, passed away on December 1, 2008.

Father Placidus will continue to be remembered for his inventive genius and his use of alternative materials, to get a job done.

He was born January 23, 1920, then baptized as “Adolph” in Humphrey, Nebraska.  His parents, Emil Zach and Anna Hassenstab, were both of Austrian heritage and had 10 children, 3 boys and 7 girls. The Zach family, like a number of Germanic Catholic families from the upper-Midwest, moved in the mid-1920s to Mt. Angel. There young Adolph became quite familiar with the local Benedictines, both at St. Mary’s School (conducted by the Benedictine sisters) and at Mt. Angel Prep (conducted by the Benedictine monks). He graduated from the Prep (a high school) in 1939, and subsequently studied pre-engineering at Oregon State College (now “University”).  His studies were interrupted by employment in Seward and Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1942, then by service in the US Army during World War II. After basic training, his term of service (1943-44) began with schooling in radio technology. Afterward he was transferred to Tampa, Florida, then to Fresno and Santa Ana, California.

After the service he worked for several years and then in 1948 became a seminarian at Mount Angel Seminary. Following the custom in that era for candidates to the monastery, after two years of course work in the Seminary he entered the monastery in 1950. He became a monk on September 8, 1951, when he received the name “Placidus.” His patron saint was one of the first and most fervent followers of St. Benedict. As a monk Placidus returned to philosophy studies at the Seminary and graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor’s Degree. He continued on to theology studies, in preparation for the priesthood, and on May 10, 1956 was ordained as a priest by Archbishop Edward D. Howard. In 2006 he celebrated 50 years as a priest, with his ordination classmate, Abbot Joseph Wood.

In the early years of his life as a monk he was on the staff of the Angelus, the Mount Angel Seminary periodic publication. From time to time he put his radio knowledge to work by helping the students with their “radio station, KSBO,” which was actually a HAM radio operated by amateurs. Given Father Placidus’ creative gift and his mechanical skill, his principal assignment for a number of years was as an electrical maintenance engineer at the Abbey. During those years he also taught physics and algebra at the Prep School.

On two different occasions he was assigned to the Abbey’s daughter house, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.  There he showed unusual ability with the Spanish language as well as his usual flair for mechanical maintenance. In Mexico, in particular, it was noted that Father Placidus had great esteem for the traditional Latin Mass. The first and shorter period of his work in Mexico was 1974-1978, after which he returned to the Abbey and was put in charge of Abbey Orchard. The second and longer period in Mexico was from 1986-2003. Due to a number of health challenges, he lived the latter years of his life at the Providence Benedictine Nursing Center. He passed peacefully to the Lord at the Abbey, in the monastery infirmary, surrounded by confreres supporting him in prayer as he was being anointed by Prior Gregory.

Vigils for the Dead will be held in the Abbey Church on Friday, December 5 at 7:30 PM. Prior Gregory Duerr, OSB, will preside at the Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, December 6 at 10:00 AM, in the Abbey church.


September 26, 2008



Rest In Peace
Father Stephen Hofmann, O.S.B.

At about 7:15 p.m. on the evening of September 26th Father Stephen Hofmann, O.S.B. passed peacefully to the Lord. He was 94 years old and in the 73rd year of his monastic profession. Father Stephen enjoyed 68 years as a priest.

In 1935, at 20 years of age, Father Stephen entered the Abbey. The following year he made his simple profession at the hands of Prior Jerome Wespe. It was Archbishop Edward D. Howard of Portland who ordained father Stephen to the priesthood in 1941, and after his graduate studies in philosophy at the Catholic University of America he immediately began teaching philosophy and latin at Mount Angel Seminary. From 1957 to 1966 he served as procurator of the Abbey, and his reputation as a shrewd bargainer in providing for the material needs of the monastery is legendary! Weekend parish assistance was a constant over his many years.

In the late 1960s Father Stephen was sent to the Abbey's monastic foundation in Idaho, and in 1977 he was asked to plan and superintend the construction of the present monastery of the Ascension near jerome, Idaho. IN 1980 he returned to Mount Angel, and in these later years, undeterred by physical inability, he used a golf cart to get himself from place to place.

Father loved his monastic vocation, in which her persevered faithfully for so many years; and he loved his priestly vocation and the Holy Eucharist. He could say that he offered Mass every day since his ordination–incuding the very day on which he passed to the Lord!

May Father Stephen and all the faithful departed rest in the peace of Christ.


September 8, 2008
Three Monks Make Simple Profession

The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the traditional time when monks of Mount Angel Abbey profess their first vows. This year the community is blessed to receive three new members: Brother Luke Marshall, Brother Jonah Wright and Brother Basil Lawrence.


Rest In Peace
Brother Benedict Eberle, OSB  

Br. Benedict was born in 1915, only about a mile from the monastery in which he lived out his many years as a monk. He was one of four children in his family to become Benedictines - two sisters who entered Queen of Angels Monastery in the town of Mt. Angel, and one

of his brothers, who together with himself,

entered Mount Angel Abbey. The son of another

of his brothers was late to become Abbot of

Mount Angel, Abbot Peter. Prior to entering the Abbey Br. Benedict - the Jake Eberle - served

his country in the Army Air Force for three

years, spending 21 months in England during World War II. After his military service he

worked for some seven years in his family's gorcery store in Mt. Angel before entering the

monastery. It was in 1953 that he made his first profession of vows and received the name Benedict. After serving in various secretarial and bookkeeping assignments, in 1966 Br. Benedict  was given responsibility for the management of the Abbey bookstore and gift shop in the guesthouse, and thousands are the guests who will remember this gentle monk during the several decades of his service there. May he rest forever in the peace of Christ. Thank you for remenbering Br. Benedict in your charitable prayers.


June 3, 2008
Rest In Peace
Father Bernard Sander, OSB

Father Bernard Sander, OSB, a monk and priest of Mount Angel Abbey passed peacefully to the Lord this morning, June 3, 2008, in the 89th year of his life and the 68th year of his monastic profession. More >>


May 31, 2008
Deaconate Ordination

Brother Ralph Recker, OSB was ordained to the order of deacon on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saturday, May 31st in the Abbey church. Archbishop John Vlazny, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon was the ordaining prelate. Brother Ralph, a native of Ohio, was born July 2, 1961 and professed a Benedictine monk of Mount Angel Abbey, September 8, 2004. He will continue his studies toward priestly ordination at Mount Angel Seminary this Fall.


May 28, 2008
Abbey Launches New Web Site

Wednesday, May 28th marked the commencement of Mount Angel Abbey's new home on the World Wide Web. In the works throughout the recent winter months, the Abbey's new web presence is intended to be yet another aspect of Benedictine hospitality. More >>


May 14, 2008
Father Bede Partridge, OSB
and Father Philip Waible, OSB celebrate Jubilees of Ordination

The Conventual Mass was celebrated at a special time of 11:00 a.m. today, and was offered by Father Philip, with Father Abbot Nathan and Father Bede as principal concelebrants. Between them, 75 years of priestly service has been rendered by these two monks of Mount Angel Abbey: Father Bede, 50 years, and Father Philip, 25. After the sacred liturgy, the community enjoyed a festive lunch in the monastic refectory, with the celebrants seated at the Abbot's table at the head of the refectory.

May 10, 2008
Mount Angel Seminary Celebrates Its 120th Commencement.

The commencement address by Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss, Archbishop of Omaha, photos and list of graduates is available here >>