When his confreres gathered in the morning of 12 June 2020 for the morning prayer,
Brother Vincent Konrad Mack, O.S.B.
passed away peacefully in the Lord.
Our confrere was born in Kirchdorf an der Iller on 12 February 1934, and six days later he was baptized in the parish church of St. Blasius by Father Paul Harrer, his home parish priest and later honorary citizen of Kirchdorf, receiving the name of Konrad.
Konrad’s father Franz Josef was married in second marriage to Elisabeth Wiest, and Konrad was their only child. His six brothers and sisters came from the father’s first marriage. In the pastoral testimony for Konrad, Pastor Harrer expressed his delight that Konrad “is called to follow in the footsteps of his three brothers † Marianus and † Ernst (Beuron) and † Alois (Neresheim), who preceded him a long time ago.” This shows that Konrad grew up in a good Catholic farming family, where manual labor and practical faith naturally went hand in hand. Later, peasant life will continue to determine largely his monastic life.
His school days were also focused on agriculture. After finishing the regular eight years at his home elementary school on 24 March 1948, Konrad attended the Agricultural School for Boys in Erolzheim from 1 April 1948 to 31 August 1950. He attended the Agricultural School in Neresheim Monastery during the winter semesters 1954/55 and 1955/56 and he graduated with a good overall grade. In January 1960 he also took two courses at the German Agricultural Machinery School in Ravensburg.
Before that, at the beginning of the year 1960, Konrad had taken part in retreats for young men in Beuron and had asked information about becoming a monk there. Finally his monastic ideas had matured so far that he travelled to Beuron after Christmas 1961 to prepare his entry, and on February 13, 1962 he began his monastic life as a postulant. The monastic farm, rebuilt in 1960 according to the newest standards, became his field of activity. At the beginning of his novitiate in the same year he received St. Vincent de Paul as his new patron saint. On 16 August 1964, Brother Vincent was allowed to take vows for three years, and three years later he joined our community forever. For over thirty years Brother Vincent worked in the fields, in the stable and with the machines. To the annoyance of many old brothers on the farm, he only stopped attending the Liturgy of the Hours when there was really no other way. He remained faithful to prayer with the community throughout his life, until his physical strength did not permit it any longer.
When we had to abandon farming in 1996, this meant a huge and painful cut for many of the brothers who had worked in this area. Brother Vincent, however, was open for this new stage of life. He recognized that somebody was needed at the monastery gate and filled the gap there with a willingness which was respected by his superiors. St. Benedict expects the monastic gatekeeper to “know how to receive and give notice”. Beyond this (sometimes nerve-racking) service, Brother Vincent now had the opportunity to pursue many interests. Reading became his preferred hobby, especially literature about health and how to preserve it. Equipped with this knowledge, he thought he could keep away from doctors. He used his knowledge of agricultural machinery and started repairing old and abandoned bicycles. His passion for handicrafts was not always popular in the community, as he sometimes damaged formerly roadworthy bicycles. Bother Vincent could accept to be replaced at the gate only when he became too old to continue working there.
Thanks to an electric wheelchair, he spent his last years moving around in the whole house and even looking around the monastery village, until he finally had to accept more help from the infirmary. With an iron will and an extremely high pain tolerance he fought against his severe arthrosis and resisted his dwindling strength. “It must,” was his motto in difficult situations. An eloquent sign of his attitude was his clenched right fist which he waved in front of those who were talking to him, in order to emphasize his determination. After a short stay in hospital, Brother Vincent was lovingly cared for by our infirmarians and the staff of the St. Heimerad welfare center, and freed from his pain, he could remain with us in the infirmary, where his Creator called him home to heaven after a few days. We are very grateful for their support to the nursing staff, our confreres, and Brother Vincent’s relatives who visited him.
On Tuesday, 16 June, we will celebrate the Requiem for our confrere at 10:30 a.m. and then lay him to rest in the cemetery of the monastery.
Please pray for our dear confrere.
– ARCHABBOT TUTILO AND THE MONKS OF BEURON