In Memoriam ~ Father Julian George Schmiesing OSB ’49
Father Julian George Schmiesing OSB ’49
Collegeville – 25 September 1931 – 7 July 2018
Julian George Schmiesing ’49 was born on September 25, 1931, the youngest of four children of Aloys and Rose (Brockmann) Schmiesing on a farm near Meire Grove, Minnesota.
Julian’s elementary school years were spent in Meire Grove from 1937 to 1945. He began thinking about a priestly vocation at the suggestion of a local childhood acquaintance, Father Paulin Wiesner OSB. After Father Paulin put Julian into contact with the Abbot of Saint John’s, Alcuin Deutsch, OSB, Julian enrolled in Saint John’s Preparatory School in 1945. He completed his secondary school requirements in 1949.
After finishing four more years at Saint John’s University, he graduated with a BA in philosophy and classics in 1954. As an undergraduate, Julian lived in Anselm Hall for pre-seminary students and “began to think about the Benedictines.” He entered the novitiate in 1951 and received the religious name of Meinulph (changed back to Julian in 1968). He was first professed a Benedictine monk in 1952. From 1954 through 1958 Julian studied and prepared for the priesthood. He was ordained in June of 1958. Father Julian pursued further studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1959 and at Saint Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota, in 1963. During the summer months from 1958-65 he took courses in German and linguistics at Georgetown University and at The Catholic University of America, both in Washington, D.C.
Father Julian’s earliest assignments were in the educational work of Saint John’s. During his college and early monastic years (1952-56), he worked as an assistant in the campus bookstore. From 1958 to 1959 he taught German at Saint John’s University; and then for the next ten years (1959-69) he taught German and served as a prefect at Saint John’s Preparatory School. His prep school assignment also involved teaching Spanish from 1959 to 1964. Father Julian was the first director of the study abroad program for Saint John’s Prep school students from 1966 through 1968 at the Benedictine monastery in Melk, Austria.
Beginning in 1969, his teaching ministry moved to Humacao, Puerto Rico, where he was appointed principal of Collegio San Antonio Abad until 1973, when he became prior of its sponsoring institution, Monasterio San Antonio Abad, for the next three years.
Returning to Central Minnesota in 1976, Father Julian was appointed director of vocations and director of candidates at Saint John’s Abbey. He also resumed teaching German part-time at the prep school. His stint as director of candidates continued until 1985, but in 1982 his earlier assignment as vocation director came to an end. In 1979 he was named sub prior of Saint John’s Abbey, and in 1982 he was appointed prior. In 1989 he again departed Saint John’s to engage in pastoral work as pastor of Holy Rosary parish in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. He remained at Holy Rosary until 1994 when he was assigned pastor of Saint Boniface Church in Cold Spring, Minnesota. In 1997 he became pastor of Saint James Church in Jacobs Prairie, Minnesota.
Father Julian enjoyed visiting with people and he loved food, perhaps especially German, and he was seldom far from a deck of cards. During his tenure as prior of Saint John’s Abbey, Father Julian was especially solicitous of the ill and those who lived in the abbey retirement center. He visited these confreres regularly and displayed a gentle sense of humor that seemed to lift their spirits. Prior Julian also kept in close contact with those who were pursuing studies away from the abbey.
After his own move to the abbey retirement center, one of the ways Father Julian kept busy was by volunteering as a staff member at the Abbey Gift Shop.
Father Julian died on 7 July 2018 in the retirement center at Saint John’s Abbey. He is survived by his sister, Lucille Waldorf, and sister-in-law, Rose Mary Schmiesing, and the community at Saint John’s Abbey. The monks, family, and friends will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for Father Julian on Friday 13 July at 3:30 pm in Saint John’s Abbey Church with interment in Saint John’s Cemetery following the service.