Father Bernard Anthony Horzen
Born: LaSalle, Illinois, December 18, 1926
Professed: July 11, 1947
Ordained: May 3, 1953
Died: December 8, 2011
We request your prayers for our deceased confrere, Father Bernard Anthony Horzen, who died on the morning of December 8, ten days short of his 85th birthday, at St. Joseph Nursing Home in Lacon, Illinois, where he had been a patient since September of 2010.
Fr. Bernard, born in LaSalle, Illinois, on December 18, 1926, was the son of Anton and Josephine (Kukman) Horzen. After completing his elementary education at St. Roch’s Grade School, he attended St. Bede Academy and Junior College from 1940 to 1946, after which he entered the monastery’s novitiate, then at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, in July of 1946 and professed his first vows as a monk of St. Bede on July 11, 1947.
Fr. Bernard completed his college studies with a B.A. in philosophy from St. John’s University in Collegeville in 1949. He subsequently spent four years in theological studies at St. Bede and was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1953, by Bishop William E. Cousins at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Peoria. In 2003 he celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in the abbey church at St. Bede.
Assigned to teach science at St. Bede Academy, he first returned to St. John’s University for a bachelors of science degree in 1955, and then earned a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Notre Dame in 1957. During his long teaching career of over fifty years he also attended seventeen summer sessions in physics, chemistry, and computer science at thirteen different universities.
At St. Bede Academy, in addition to physics and chemistry he also taught mathematics, physical science, and radiation and computer science, and coached the scholastic bowl team. He also served as prefect of boarding students, as kitchen manager, as manager of the bookstore, snack bar, and concessions, as moderator of the science club, and as head of the science department.
He was active in a number of organizations, especially in the Junior Academy of Sciences, serving on the board of directors for an extended period and occupying various offices over the years. He also served as chaplain of the LaSalle Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Fr. Bernard for many years preached in various parishes in Illinois and Wisconsin on behalf of Aid to International Monasticism, an agency that supports monasteries in the third world both spiritually and financially. He also served on the AIM board of directors and was otherwise active in support of foreign missions.
Because Fr. Bernard treasured his Slovenian heritage, he would faithfully attend the funeral or wake for local Slovenians and offer a prayer in Slovenian for that person. For much of his life as a priest he was the chaplain for the local American Slovenian Catholic Union. He was such an inspiration to the local and national membership that he was the National Spiritual Advisor of this organization.
In 2001 Fr. Bernard was named administrator of St. Thomas More Parish in Dalzell, and became pastor two years later. He continued to minister there until ill health forced his retirement in June of 2009. He resided in the abbey infirmary until a medical crisis in august of 2010 required his hospitalization, followed by residence at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home, Lacon, Illinois.
During his time at the nursing home in Lacon Fr. Bernard deeply grieved his absence for his home, St. Bede Abbey. We now give thanks for his generous, zealous ministry to so many people in so many ways, and ask you to join us in prayer that he will now be at rest in his eternal home with God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are grateful for the suffrages that you will offer for our deceased confrere, and we promise faithful remembrance of your deceased.
Abbot Philip Davey, OSB and community