Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

Abbot Brian Wangler, OSB

Abbot Brian
passed away from cancer at 2:56 a.m., Thursday, May 25, 2017 at the Richardton
Health Center in Richardton.



Abbot Brian was
born in St. Alexius Hospital in Bismarck, ND, on October 19, 1943, to Valentine
and Mary (Wald) Wangler, and baptized as Henry. He grew up on the family farm
southwest of Napoleon, ND, where he learned many skills that he found useful
throughout his life. He was the fifth child of nine boys and two girls.



His elementary
education was at a country school with one teacher for all eight grades. His
first year of high school was at St. Francis Academy, Hankinson, ND, where he
had two aunts in the Franciscan community. He finished high school at Abbey
Prep in 1961 and attended the Abbey's Junior College from 1961 to 1963, after
which he entered Assumption Abbey to begin monastic life. He was given the name
Brian, and made his monastic profession on July 11, 1964.



After
completing college studies at St. John's University, Collegeville, MN, in 1966,
he began theological studies at Assumption Abbey Seminary for the 1966-1967
school year. From 1967 to 1970 Frater Brian completed his seminary studies at
St. Meinrad School of Theology, St. Meinrad, IN. He was ordained simplex on
August 2, 1969.



From September
to December 1970, Father Brian was a recruiter for Assumption College. In
December of 1970, the decision was made to close the college, and in January of
1971 he was appointed assistant pastor of St. Joseph's Church, Devils Lake, ND.
In August of 1972 he was called back to the Abbey to head up the Christian Life
Center. In time he also became the Prior, Formation Director, and worked with
Marriage Encounter. Abbot Robert West sent Father Brian to Duquesne University,
Pittsburgh, PA, in September of 1975 to earn an MA degree in Catholic Formative
Spirituality. Father Brian graduated from Duquesne in May of 1978, and returned
to the Abbey to serve as Formation Director. He was also reappointed Prior.
During the spring of 1983, he was asked to become pastor of St. Mary's Parish,
Richardton, a job he enjoyed for the next 21 years.



On May 28,
2004, Father Brian was elected eighth abbot of Assumption Abbey. Abbot Brian
came to be appreciated for his emotional balance, practical wisdom, and
willingness to serve. He often rolled up his sleeves and did menial chores
alongside his brother-monks. He seemed genuinely to love his job. In addition
to his many duties as major superior, he took the Sunday evening Mass at Queen
of Peace Church in Dickinson, ND, from the last Sunday of January, 2005, to
Sunday, October 30, 2016.



Abbot Brian
received a diagnosis of cancer in October of 2015 and was on chemotherapy for
eight months. He was very grateful to his four brothers living in Bismarck who
came to visit him during chemo sessions. He was also most grateful to other
family members who expressed their concern, remembered his birthday, and made
the effort to visit him. One of Abbot Brian's regrets during his last year was
in not being able to visit all family members as he would have liked, and in
not being able to visit, one more time, Assumption Abbey's beloved daughter
house, Monasterio Benedictino de Tibat in Bogota, Colombia. Abbot Brian enjoyed
monastic life and was very grateful to his confreres for their dedication and
good humor.



Abbot Brian is
preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Elsie Weninger. He is survived
by eight brothers, Tony (Lucy) Wangler, Mark (Luella) Wangler, Frank (Florence)
Wangler, Alois (Erica) Wangler, Julius (Patricia Ann) Wangler, Valentine
(JoAnn) Wangler, Jim (Diane) Wangler, Steven (Sherry) Wangler, one sister, Ann
Marie (Allyn) Wald, and by his brother-in-law Norbert (Phyllis) Weninger and
many nieces and nephews.