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November 4, 1939 - June 8, 2018
Burial Date June 15, 2018
Vigil: Thursday, June 14, 2018, 7:30 p.m. at St. Martin’s Abbey Church Funeral Mass: Friday, June 15, 2018, 1:30 p.m. at St. Martin’s Abbey Chuirch Graveside: Following Funeral Mass at the Abbey Cemetery Reception: Following Graveside Committal at St. Gertrude’s Cafeteria
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Father Benedict LeRoy Auer, O.S.B. (1939-2018)
Father Benedict LeRoy Auer, passed peacefully to God late on the afternoon of Friday, June 8, 2018, in the Abbey Infirmary, fortified by the Sacraments and surrounded by his confreres and friends. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.
LeRoy Kuncl was born to Charles Kuncl, Jr., and Marcelline Kuncl, nee Boudreu, in Chicago, Illinois, on November 4, 1939. Following Mr. Kuncl’s untimely death, his mother married William F. Auer, who legally adopted the young LeRoy who took his adopted father’s name. Following elementary education in Cicero and Des Plaines, Illinois, LeRoy enrolled in Quigley Preparatory Seminary, where he completed his high school education in 1957.
Father Benedict was a very educated man. He received a B.A. from Loyola University (Chicago), a Masters from Creighton and from St. Meinrad School of Theology, and a doctorate from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Additionally, he did advanced work at the Angelicum (Rome), Harvard and Bennington College, among other institutions of higher learning.
In 1976, LeRoy entered the Benedictine novitiate at Marmion Abbey, Aurora, Illinois, receiving the religious name Benedict. Novice Benedict Auer made his first vows on August 6, 1977, and his solemn profession of August 6, 1980 in the presence of Abbot David Cyr, O.S.B. He was ordained to the priesthood later that year on December 26, 1980 at Annunciation Church, Aurora, Illinois, by the Right Reverend Arthur O’Neill, Bishop of Rockford, Illinois, celebrating his first Mass two days later on December 28 at St. Mary’s Church, Des Plaines, Illinois.
In July 1991, Father Benedict formally transferred his monastic stability from Marmion Abbey to Saint Martin’s. Father Benedict exercised his priestly ministry for some eight years in the parishes of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, and later in his role of Campus Minister at Saint Martin’s College (1988-1994). He was also a professional educator. In addition to many years of teaching, Father Benedict had been at one time Associate Professor of Education at Saint Martin’s College (later University) and Director of the Catholic Education Program.
Father Benedict once remarked that if there could be only one thing written on his gravestone, he’d like it to be “a poet”. He had a life-long interest in poetry, and was a published poet and author. His poems and articles appeared in many national and international publications, and he authored six books, including one on poetry therapy and another on suicidal depression and spirituality. He requested that in lieu of a homily or a eulogy several of his own poems be read at his funeral Mass.