In the early morning of 21 April 2019, at 4:30, the Risen Lord
called home our beloved
Brother Hugo Wild OSB
in the eighty-ninth year of his life.
The question he so often asked in the confusion of old age — whether he was in the right place — God answered with a paschal hour of death. Karl Wild came into the world on 21 November 1930 in Unterpleichfeld. His parents, Venanz and Barbara, ran a farm that had to support them with their six children.
From 1937 until the end of the Second World War, Karl went to the primary school in his home village. In 1946, he transferred to the apprentices’ home of the abbey, to which was affiliated an in-house vocational school. The first trade of the gifted young man was that of a cartwright; this was confirmed on 8 October 1949 with grade A as a journeyman.
Soon after, further training began as a metal worker. In the novitiate, which began on 8 September 1949, and as a temporary professed since 25 September 1950, Brother Hugo earned the journeyman’s certificate (20 July 1953) with Andreas Krum and in the Fahrenholz Company, Regensburg.
On 11 October 1953, he made his solemn profession, which was followed by years practicing his trade, which was validated by master’s exam on 20 April 1959. From then on, Brother Hugo headed the metal workshop of the abbey, a vital supplier to the goldsmith shop. As a master of his trade, he trained new apprentices for many years. Products of his workshop still can be found in the abbey today and in our mission territories spread worldwide; you can recognize them by special hammer marks. From the autumn of 1962 until the spring of 1963, Brother Hugo set up a metalworking shop in the Catalan Abbey of Montserrat.
In September 1986, Brother Hugo took over responsibility for the goldsmith shop and the metal workshop along with the employed goldsmith master. On 8 February 2008, his many years of service in these workshops was recognized, and Brother Hugo then retired. But right into old age, as long as his health condition allowed it, he was the sociable, friendly guest at the coffee break time of the young workshop team.
Alongside this full workload, he still maintained versatile activity within the monastic community. Brother Hugo was a prefect in the Saint Placidus Apprentices’ Home from 1954 to 1958. Former students remember him as being a caring and balanced educator within a strict framework. For many years, he played first trumpet in the monastery brass band. The abbey fire brigade had him as its reliable second commander until 1989. His repeated election to the seniorate and as dean, as well as being the third senior brother who looked after the younger brothers, especially testify to the respect that Brother Hugo enjoyed among his confreres. In 1966 Abbot Boniface appointed Brother Hugo as his personal chauffeur. In this school, Brother Hugo certainly learned his distinguished manner of dealing with people and maintaining open contact with all.
Thus Brother Hugo became a faithful letter writer to countless acquaintances from all levels of society. As a person who liked to engage others, he made possible the “Café Wild”, as his hospitable workshop teasingly was called. At a time when unofficial contacts in monastic life were very much frowned upon, this workshop became an opportunity and place to talk and take a break. His openness made the home leave of many a missionary more human. Brother Hugo presented this gift to guests, co-workers and strangers.
Having become old and infirm and thwarted by dementia, he now had to withdraw into assisted living. That he was cared for so well in this, we thank the team of our infirmary, the nursing home in Volkach, which accepted Brother Hugo while our infirmary was being renovated, and the cheerful support of the colleagues in the goldsmith shop.
How many chalices and bowls, and how many candlesticks Brother Hugo produced, it is impossible to count. May God see Brother Hugo’s great dedication in his life and send him the fullness of the light of Easter.
Brother Hugo was buried in the monastery cemetery after the Eucharistic liturgy on Friday, 26 April 2019, at 2:00 p.m.
Abbot Michael and the community of Münsterschwarzach