Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Mt 11.28).

On 29 December 2018, at 5:15 pm, after much suffering, and with the sacraments of the Church, P. Stefan Gruber OSB passed away in the hospital of the Elisabethinen in Linz.

As a member of the Benedictine monastic community of Seitenstetten, he served as a teacher in the abbey’s high school, the abbey’s Cellarer, and also a local pastor.

Father Stefan was born on 23 September 1954, as the fourth of seven children of the farmers Maria and Franz Gruber, on Hochsonnleiten Farm in the area of Ybbsitz, and at baptism he was given the name of Francis of Assisi.  After elementary school in his hometown, Franz came to the Stiftsgymnasium of Seitenstetten, where he graduated in 1973.  That same summer, he joined the monastic community and received the name Stephanus from Abbot Albert Kurzwernhart on 13 August 1973.

After the novitiate, Brother Stefan arrived at Kolleg St. Benedikt in Salzburg in 1974, where he studied theology at the university.  He professed his solemn vows on 29 September 1977 at Seitenstetten, was ordained deacon on 26 June 1978, and in 1979 completed his studies in theology.  On 30 June 1979, Auxiliary Bishop Alois Stöger of St. Pölten ordained him as priest at his home parish in Ybbsitz.

With his calm and well-balanced nature, P. Stefan was a valuable and amiable brother, who was also greatly appreciated in the parishes of which he took great care. Unfortunately, he suffered repeatedly from health problems in recent years. Nevertheless, it came as a surprise that his health had declined so sharply during the week before the Advent season.  Despite all hope, his condition never improved.

A Requiem Mass was celebrated for P. Stefan at Benediktinerstift Seitenstetten on 5 January 2019, with subsequent burial in the monastery cemetery.  It is asked that the members of the Benedictine Confederation remember P. Stefan in their prayers, especially at the Holy Eucharist.