Our Br. Nikolaus was born Franz Schmid on 13 January 1931 in Langesthei/Tyrol as the sixth of ten children of the farmer Siegfried and his wife Maria Katharina Schmid (née Zangerl).
After attending school he worked in agriculture and came to St. Peter in December 1950. On 23 June 1951 Archabbot Dr. Jakob Reimer OSB clothed him as Brother Nicholas of Flüe. He made temporary profession on June 24, 1952 and perpetual profession on June 24, 1955 in the hands of Archabbot Jakob. When after the Second Vatican Council the lay brothers also solemnly professed Br. Nicholas did so together with the other lay brothers of St. Peter in the abbey church on 11 July 1969. Br. Nikolaus was the last survivor of a long line of lay brothers, who for decades had been responsible for the good spirit of our monastery. They left their mark.
Br. Nicholas always remained a simple, faithful and humble confrere. He never left St. Peter’s and embodied therefore, more than any other, Benedictine stability. His activities were simple and modest.
After his monastic formation by Fr. Beda Winkler OSB, he was initially active as supervisor of the 3rd floor of the convent. In this function, he performed all smaller and larger services that were then – before the Second Vatican Council, when the strict separation between fathers and brothers still prevailed – which the Reverend Fathers allegedly needed. This began with serving mass in the early morning, the provision of breakfast, all kinds of errands during the day up to heavy clearing and plastering work during renovations. In the evening – already tired from the day’s work and exhausted – he still polished his brothers’ shoes.
But the most important task of Br. Nicholas was the office of the infirmary, a position he held until 2009. For decades he has selflessly and devotedly helped sick and elderly confreres, brought them food, cared for them lovingly, washed them, changed the bed linen when it was necessary. He called the doctors and procured the medication, administering it dutifully. But his speciality was the many teas for his sick brothers, for which he himself collected, dried and mixed the herbs. Br. Nicholas always understood serving the sick and dying as a spiritual work of mercy. Br. Nicholas did not live for himself, but always for others, poor and suffering people – and animals too! He gladly did good deeds with his modest pocket money.
At the same time, Br. Nikolaus always remained cheerful inwardly, because it his spirituality was to serve the poorest. In his last active years the monastery garden became his beloved field of activity. He was also tireless in prayer. Especially in his old age, the daily rosary gave him much strength and inner peace. His peaceful and friendly smile revealed that Br. Nikolaus was a good-hearted person, who was meant to give strength and comfort to other people in difficult situations. We thank him for his credible Life testimony as a Benedictine monk. We also thank our brothers Fr. Andreas, Fr. Jakob and Fr. Markus, who have accompanied and cared for Br. Nicholas in the last years of his weakening and dying. Following his many brothers and sisters, he entered into the mercy of God on April 24, 2020, strenghtned with the Holy Sacraments, and can expect the paschal resurrection. On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, we will bury our dear confrere – because of the Corona Crisis in the small circle of his brothers and family – in St. Peter’s Cemetery for final rest.
— Archabbot Korbinian and the community of St Peter Archabbey, Salzburg