For five days Br. Sturmius was in the hospital in Kitzingen undergoing tests. He decided on a heart catheterization greatly hoping for some relief. In preparing for this procedure
Brother Sturmius (Josef) Stöcklein OSB
died on Thursday, 14 November 2019, at 7:45 p.m. Though his quick death came unexpectedly for those around him, he himself had been very conscious of death in recent years. We know that our dear confrere has arrived where his faith and labors directed him.
Br. Sturmius, baptized with the name Josef, came into the world in Dörfleins, Hallstadt, on 3 November 1933. He was the next to the last child of his parents Baptist and Barbara Stöcklein. His father’s farm had to support nine children. From April 1940 to the spring of 1946, Josef attended the village primary school. He then transferred to the Benedictine schools of Münsterschwarzach and St. Ludwig. In the meantime, one of his older brothers was a novice as Br. Willigis and then professed for our monastery. After completing the gymnasium Josef entered the abbey on 1 February 1950. There followed an apprenticeship as a typesetter and book printer which he completed with the journeyman’s exam. On 27 July 1961 he became a master of the trade.
On the monastic side, Br. Sturmius began the postulancy on 23 April 1950 and the novitiate on 26 April 1951. He made his temporary profession on 13 May 1952 and in his solemn profession on 19 May 1955 he joined Münsterschwarzach for life. This shaped the course of his life but it was also significantly formed by his life-long assignment.
From the autumn of 1959 until 31 August 2005, he was the director of our Benedict Press. During these years the operation grew into a respected undertaking. This was confirmed for Br. Sturmius when he was appointed to the main jury of the Stiftung Buchkunst – The Most Beautiful German Books.
In handing over the keys to his successor on 24 September 2005, Br. Sturmius spoke of the balancing act between monk and manager, about the wise middle ground in making decisions, of the strength of the team of the employees. He was also told in turn that he was a thoughtful and humane boss. Great relationship skills made Br. Sturmius well-liked in the workplace and outside in the business world and to the welcome guest, as he himself was also a good host.
The inclination toward the beautiful, his looking for something special qualified him as the one to care for the monastery postage stamp collection. For decades he devoted himself to this treasure of culture and history. With the St. Gabriel collectors guild of Kitzingen and also that of Würzburg he organized ten exhibitions in the country and elsewhere.
Retired from the printing press, he began anew in Haus St. Benedikt in Würzburg. In this well-known meditation center he devoted himself to the guests, the bookshop and the domestic tasks of the small community.
After six years, he moved back again to his cell in Münsterschwarzach. For the bookstore and the publishing house Br. Sturmius continued to be a welcome aid in all kinds of situations. He offered this presence and readiness to help up till the days of his recent stay in the hospital.
With Br. Sturmius a confrere leaves us who in an unassuming way has lived the balance of running a business and living the monastic life, of guests and community, of action and contemplation. His peaceful nature was the gift of his rural farming background and the fruit of Benedictine maturity.
We will thank God for his life with us on Wednesday, 20 November 2019, at 2:00 p.m., during the Eucharist and afterwards lay him to rest in the monastery cemetery.
Münsterschwarzach, 18 November 2019
Abbot Michael and the community of Münsterschwarzach