Brother Sebastian Aicher OSB, of the Abbey of Schweiklberg, passed away during the morning hours of 29 November 2018. At the time of his death, Brother Sebastian was 55 years old and professed as a monastic brother for more than 33 years.
Brother Sebastian came from a large farming family in Mühldorf, Halfing, in the District of Rosenheim, where he was born on 3 February 1963 as the third child of Anton and Theresia Aicher. He received emergency baptism on 4 February 1963 at the children’s hospital of Steinhöring, and on 28 March, he was baptized solemnly in the parish church of Halfing. He received as his patron the soldier Saint Sebastian, retaining this name as his monastic patron. Sebastian grew up with nine siblings, attending primary school in Halfing from 1969 – 1978 and then secondary school in Bad Endorf. He apprenticed as a carpenter in Halfing from 1978 – 1981 and then took his journeyman’s exam.
From 1982 – 1983, Sebastian completed his military service in Brannenburg, and at a soldiers’ retreat during this period, he came into contact with Father Gislar Aulinger OSB of Schweiklberg. He then decided to enter the monastery in January 1984. On 19 May 1984, he was admitted into the novitiate, making his temporary profession on 25 May 1985 and solemn profession on 29 May 1988. Brother Sebastian then engaged further training within his trade at the abbey’s carpentry shop, which led to his earning a master’s certificate in 1988.
From 5 November 1989 – 1 December 1991, Brother Sebastian undertook a mission assignment in the then young monastery of Tororo in Uganda under its superior Father John Neudegger. In Uganda, he applied the skills of his trade in directing the carpentry shop. From 1991, he again worked in the monastery carpentry shop of Schweiklberg, taking over the responsibilities as director after Brother Petrus Dumps OSB, being responsible also for the training of apprentices. During the renovation of Schweiklberg’s abbey church in 1997–98, he and the carpentry shop team created the seating for the church and the three organ cases. During this time, he also took a correspondence course in theology.
Ever since his childhood, Brother Sebastian was used to knuckling down on something, committing himself fully to a project wherever there was need. In the monastic community as well, Brother Sebastian was ready to serve whenever needed. For example, Brother Sebastian was the security advisor for the monastery and at times also was active in school maintenance. For many years, he was head of the monastery fire brigade, and even served as a cantor in the choir until recently. He was also a dedicated member and recently chairman of the Vilshofen Sebastiani Brotherhood. In 2005 – 2006, he helped out in the small monastic community at Fiecht in the Tyrol. From 2011 – 2016, he was a member of the board of the Association of Religious in the Diocese of Passau. His areas of responsibility and fields of activity are so numerous that they would burst the parameters of this obituary, such that only a few notable accomplishments are able to be mentioned here.
At the end of April 2017, Brother Sebastian made the long pilgrimage on foot to the shrine of Saint James in Santiago di Compostela, from which he returned newly strengthened. However, the pressure he experienced from his past work continued to have a negative impact on his nerves, leading to his suffering illness during Christmas 2017 that — notwithstanding intensive medical supervision and the loving, self-sacrificing care of the abbey’s nursing staff — ultimately led to his death.
The Requiem Mass was celebrated for Brother Sebastian on Monday, 3 December 2018 at 10:30 a.m., with interment in the monastery cemetery. We commend Brother Sebastian to the prayers of the Benedictine Confederation, entrusting him into the hands of our merciful Lord.
Adapted from Obituary Notice of Prior Administrator Father Benedikt Schneider OSB of Schweiklberg.