Monk of Saint John’s Abbey
Born: 20 April 1933
Professed: 13 November 1958
Died: 7 October 2021
Mass of Christian Burial: October 12 at 3:30 p.m.
Andrew (Leo) Goltz was the younger of two children born to John Ernest Goltz and Venus (Ritter) Goltz in Milaca, Minnesota, on April 20, 1933. In addition to his sister Doris, Andrew also had four stepbrothers. His father was a farmer and his mother a homemaker.
Leo’s elementary education was in a rural, one-room school. After graduating from Milaca High School in 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. During his four-year term of service, he was trained and subsequently worked as a hospital corpsman. He received his diploma from the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps School in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1952. His naval career took him to Japan during the Korean War, and while he was stationed there, he became a Catholic and was confirmed by the bishop of Kyoto in 1955.
Upon his return to civilian life, Leo’s continued interest in the Catholic faith led him to enter Saint John’s Abbey as a novice in 1957. On November 13, 1958, Brother Andrew (with his new monastic name) professed vows as a Benedictine monk and in 1961 became the first brother to profess perpetual vows in the new Saint John’s Abbey Church.
Brother Andrew’s earliest assignment was in the Saint John’s Abbey Woodworking Shop from 1957–1959. From 1959 to 1962 he assisted artist Bronislaw Bak and Mr. Richard Haeg in assembling and installing the huge stained-glass window Bak had designed to fill the entire north wall of the Abbey Church, which was then under construction. He described this work as a labor of love in an engaging 2014 monastic chapter visual presentation entitled “Sursum Corda: Bronislaw Bak’s Window for Saint John’s Abbey Church.”
Brother Andrew’s next assignment was in the business office of Saint Augustine’s Priory, Nassau, Bahamas, where he remained for one year. He then returned to Saint John’s and was appointed laboratory assistant at the Saint John’s University Observatory from 1970–1975, during which time he studied nursing at the Saint Cloud School of Nursing in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, earning an R.N. degree in 1975. He then cared for ill and elderly confreres as a registered nurse from 1975–1980 and helped establish Saint Raphael Hall, the abbey’s health care and retirement center.
His next assignment took him back to Japan, this time to Saint Anselm’s Priory in Tokyo where he labored at a variety of community tasks. Returning to Saint John’s in 1991, Brother Andrew assumed the position of book preservation and repair specialist at the Saint John’s Alcuin Library and the Clemens Library at the College of Saint Benedict from 1992–2014. In fact, he repaired books for libraries throughout the region.
The skills he perfected there were also offered to confreres who needed a well-worn and disintegrating missal or prayer book repaired, a broken binding on an RB 1980. He rendered this service for the sisters at Saint Benedict’s Monastery libraries throughout the region. As an article in the Abbey Banner (Spring 2008) recounted, “One of his most satisfying projects was the restoration of the handwritten leather-bound register of Saint Benedict’s Monastery as a gift for the community’s Sesquicentennial Celebration.”
Brother Andrew was an avid reader who was especially keen about keeping up with current events and the discoveries of contemporary science. He also savored the rich, complex histories of China and Japan, so different in many ways from that of the West. He thoroughly enjoyed sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and other word games.
Blessed with a keen eye for color and balance in artistic creation and appreciation, Brother Andrew’s talent is especially evident in the stained-glass windows in the Abbey Church, in the banners that hung for fifty years in the Great Hall which he designed and fabricated, the colorful flags for outdoors that are used on festive occasions, and in the giant, richly embellished ornaments that for many years adorned the Christmas tree erected in the Great Hall.
Brother Andrew died on October 7, 2021 in the retirement center at Saint John’s Abbey. He is survived by nieces, nephews, and the community at Saint John’s Abbey. He was preceded in death by his sister Doris, and half-brothers Edward Goltz, Harold Goltz, Willard Goltz, and Albert Sorensen.
The monks, family, and friends will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for Brother Andrew on October 12, 2021 in Saint John’s Abbey and University Church, with internment in the Abbey Cemetery following the service.
We ask each community member to offer two Masses according to the manner of his participation in the priesthood of Christ. We commend our brother Andrew to your prayers.
Abbot John Klassen OSB
and the monks of Saint John’s Abbey