Photo : Albert-Boßlet-Kirche in Münsterschwarzach, cropped | By Monandowitsch – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Our beloved confrere
Brother Hieronymus (Josef) Rampendahl OSB
died in the infirmary at 5 o’clock in the morning on 14 June 2021.

In his curriculum vitae for his application, he wrote on 29 August 1957: “After having seen this past winter the life and death of the brothers in the Benedictine Abbey of Münsterschwarzach, I have decided to give my life entirely to God in the monastic life.” Nothing more apt can be said in his obituary.

Br. Hieronymus was born in Dratem, Diocese of Osnabrück on 16 April. 1934. His parents Conrad and Maria Rampendahl lived from a small farm. Josef grew up with four sisters and one brother. His parents’ house, the life of the church community in the village, vocational school (1948–51) in Mello, the apprenticeship and journeyman years as a carpenter shaped his directness. Thus was he formed and thus he remained during the course of his monastic life.

He entered the postulancy on 4 November 1957. At his admittance into the novitiate on 4 December 1958, he received the monastic name Br. Hieronymus. Temporary profession followed on 17 December 1959; solemn profession was on 12 May 1963.

The young carpenter joined the monastery workshop at the right time for the construction of the new school and the boarding facility needed doors, windows, beds and wardrobes. The expansion of the living space and further construction happened all at once. Br. Hieronymus looked after the sacristy and abbey church in 1974–76. In 1976 he was assigned as the maintenance man for all areas. This broad field was the right thing for the all-around worker. “Don’t say that nothing can be done!” applied to all problems. So Br. Hieronymus fiddled around until he found a solution for locks, cleaning, bothersome pigeons and much more. Added to this was the almost immediate availability he afforded those asking for help. He mastered the multifaceted responsibility by taking good care of his own health. The maintenance of the swimming pools both outside and in the house were always matter for the boss as well as for his own enjoyment. The hands-on repairperson also enjoyed playing the trumpet in the monastery brass band, being a soloist at house festivities and a zealous reader in the quiet evening hours.

Such a man was also suitable as a prefect in the apprentices’ seminary for 7 years and as an assistant formator for novices and temporary professed from 1984 to 1997. Confreres who went through this school carry on the practical and organizing wisdom and skill in his distinctive maxims.

Whether serving on the fire brigade or as a member of the seniorate or a dean in a deanery, Br. Hieronymus tackled a situation and brought his voice to the matter at hand reticently but unmistakably.

At the age of 80 in December 2013, he put his maintenance job into younger hands. In 2018 he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage that broke his strength. From then on, he relied on the countless assistance provided by the care-givers in our assisted living infirmary. Slowly his strength deteriorated more and more. Even so, his death came quite suddenly–in his manner–directly, in a moment. Br. Hieronymus was intense in everything as he continued to “give his life totally to God in the monastic life.”

On Friday, 18 June 2021, we will celebrate a thanksgiving for his life at 1:30 p.m. followed by burial in the monastery cemetery.

Münsterschwarzach, 16 June 2021
Abbot Michael and the Community of Münsterschwarzach