Our beloved confrere
Father Edgar (Herbert) Friedmann OSB
died in our infirmary at 9:50 p.m. on Thursday, 10 February 2022.
As every evening, he had been put to bed in the usual way. Quite unexpectedly, death took hold of him. Father Prior and the brother infirmarian were still singing the Suscipe profession chant when he was taken up into the other life.
Fr. Edgar came into this world in Bamberg on 29 November 1940. His father Georg, a forester by profession, and his mother Franziska gave him the name Herbert at his baptism. Along with two brothers, he lived in various places as a child. For the longest time, however, the family lived in Ebrach where Herbert went to school until the beginning of his gymnasium years. Since 1951, his journey has been in the shadow of the Four Towers of Münsterschwarzach: 1951–1956 in St. Maurus seminary, 1956–1960 at the St. Benedikt study house and the Alte Gymnasium in Würzburg.
In September 1960 he entered the novitiate under the patronage of St. Edgar. He made his first profession on 21 September 1961. This was followed by the study of philosophy at St. Ottilien (1961–63). Then came the move to Sant’Anselmo in Rome, to the Benedictine College (1963–67). The licentiate was followed by a year of study at the University of Munich and finally the doctorate at Sant’Anselmo (1968–71). With his work, “Christology and Anthropology. The Method and Meaning of the Doctrine of Man in the Theology of Karl Barth,” Fr. Edgar concluded his studies.
However, throughout his life he was a questioning, inquiring and committed theologian, which is evidenced in numerous publications. He was ordained a priest on 11 September 1966 during his study years. The gift of teaching, while integrating him into the daily life of the Abbey, led him to the task of being the Master and Instructor of the brothers (1971–74). With the merger of the two novitiates, his office as Master and Instructor continued until 1982. His intellectual engagement with the themes of monastic life were confirmed and caused him to be appointed for five years to the board of the Novice Masters Association and the Ebracher Forschungskreis, to the editorial staff of the “Monastischen Informationen” and to the editorship of the Münsterschwarzacher Studien series.
In 1982 a new page in his life was opened. Fr. Edgar was sent as a missionary to the new foundation in the Philippines on 6 January 1983. At the time he was the 91st missionary from the abbey.
The talent and inclination to be a theology teacher brought Fr. Edgar not only the responsibility for the candidates of the newly founded monastery on the island of Mindanao. He also became one of the professors for the formation of candidates to the diocesan priesthood. From 2002 to 2014, Fr. Edgar served as prior of the now independent St. Benedict Priory, Digos. After that the community was able to elect his successor from among the local members. During the time of Fr. Edgar, the monastery had become large. One can only guess how much the different areas required his decision-making and shaping.
It helped that Fr. Edgar remained an analytical thinker and careful observer throughout his life. After his time as prior, he wanted to spend the remaining years of his life with the members of the priory. However, severe health disabilities prompted his return to his home abbey. So in 2019 Fr. Edgar moved to our assisted living area in Münsterschwarzach. That Br. Moses from the Philippines could accompany him until his death was a great gift for Fr. Edgar.
A rich life, in which the will to do right, to know right, and to teach, was present has gone home. We thank God for the gifts and the work he accomplished with Fr. Edgar.
Münsterschwarzach, 14 February 2022
Abbot Michael and the community of Münsterschwarzach