Shortly after the community had prayed Vigils and Lauds for All Souls’ Day, P. Dr. Severin Heinrich Schneider OSB, strengthened by the reception of the holy sacraments, returned to God.
Father Severin was born on 22 May 1931 in Vienna, where he shared his experiences of childhood and youth together with his two sisters, in the middle of war turmoil within a religious family. His first encounter with monastic life in the abbey transpired in 1948 during the course of retreats. His novitiate was followed by the profession of simple vows on 4 December 1951, with studies in theology at Beuron, priestly ordination in 1956, subsequent degrees in German philology and philosophy at the University of Graz, and completion of his doctorate in 1968. Even as a teacher, and later as Professor of German and Philosophy, Father Severin was particularly interested in the Abbey’s high school, which he ran from 1980 to 1996. From 1997 to 2000, Father Severin, as Prior Administrator, assumed leadership of the monastic community, which he had served years before as a Subprior and then as Prior.
Beyond his pastoral commitments to Catholic higher education and Catholic Action, Father Severin maintained many personal contacts. For retreats, he traveled both home and abroad always accompanied by his cameras. In nature and in his beloved mountains – and even along the Camino di Santiago – he always found motifs with a view towards what was essential, which he knew how to master in concise words. His books were published by Herder and Echter Verlag. A great concern of his heart was the German-speaking nursery school “Christuslob”.
His exemplary life as a monk was marked by a great love for, and loyalty to, the Liturgy of the Hours, and by his willingness to serve the good of the community. In recent years, he participated more in parish life. Many of the parish faithful and friends will remember his warmth and gratitude from this time. During the past year, Father Severin has needed more intensive help in the infirmary, yet in the midst of the labors of old age, he consciously approached eternal life with confidence.
The visitation of the body of Father Severin was on Friday, 9 November 2018, with Requiem Mass on Saturday, 10 November 2018 in the Basilica of Seckau and interment in the local cemetery.