Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

Father Benedict Auer, OSB

Father Benedict LeRoy Auer, O.S.B. (1939-2018) of St. Martin ‘s Abbey,
Lacey, WA, passed peacefully to God late on the afternoon of Friday, 8th June
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 4th November 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. ln 1976, LeRoy entered the Benedictine novitiate at Marmion
Abbey, Aurora, Illinois, receiving the religious name Benedict. Novice Benedict
Auer made his first vows on 6th August 1977, and his solemn profession on 6th
August 1980 in the presence of Abbot David Cyr, O.S.B. He was ordained to the
priesthood on 26th December 1980 at Annunciation Church, Aurora, Illinois, by
the Right Reverend Arthur O'Neill, Bishop of Rockford, Illinois, celebrating
his first Mass on 28th December, 1980, 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 in the middle west, 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 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. Our late confrere suffered all his life from a bipolar disorder, OCD and
PTSD. This was a life long-struggle for him, though it was only formally
diagnosed when he was age sixty. Father Benedict was a social individual, and
at the same time a man of reflection. His poetry was inspired by the world
around him - a flower arrangement, an interaction with a friend, nature - and
his confreres would on occasion receive a poem reflective of their life. He was
an avid reader, and also a film buff. Many of his published poems inspired
others, and it was not unusual for him to receive communications from far parts
of the globe. In addition to his monastic confreres and members of his family,
Father Benedict is survived by many friends