On Wednesday evening, 12 October 2022, at 7:25 p.m. our beloved confrere
Brother Odo (Franz) Harrer OSB
died in our infirmary. For such a warm-hearted person and a monk who cared about people, an obituary really cannot begin with a list of biographical data.
His personal charisma requires one to name first his helpfulness, his joy at a celebration and in the fellowship of community, and the care of the passionate master craftsman for his apprentices.
It is telling that his last years were filled with taking care of the refectory. Br. Odo ended his life with that service which Jesus in the gospel praises as the greatest. Franz Harrer came into the world in Kippenwang on 20 February 1938 as the third child of his parents Nikolaus and Ottilie. The farm had to feed a household of eight people. The war and post-war years forced changing locations for primary school. This was followed by preparing to become a farmer. But an encounter with our Br. Alban Schneider, until a few days ago his neighbor at table, put young Franz on the track of religious life and being a missionary.
In 1954 Franz entered the St. Placidus Seminary and trained as a metal worker and an agricultural machinery mechanic. He completed both professions with the title of master craftsman. On 8 May 1955 Franz was clothed as a postulant. On 3 May 1956 he received the name of the Cluniac abbot Odo when admitted to the novitiate.
Temporary profession was on 8 May 1957 and on 12 May 1963 he bound himself to us for life. The young brother helped in 1961–63 in building up our monastery farm in Krandorf, Upper Palatinate. The assignment to go to the missions came in 1963; language studies followed in England and Ireland.
Br. Odo was sent to Peramiho on 8 May 1964. His duties compromised the mechanic workshop and the vocational school. He wrote about this, “From 1964 to 2006 we trained more than 175 apprentices and gave them a professional foundation with a state final exam.”
Br. Odo was a keen swimmer and a connoisseur and friend of fish. What could be more natural then that he also became the head of the water supply system and the necessary well construction projects. The desk was not his favorite place but having a hand in creating something and the practical knowledge to do so, in this he was master and teacher. A teacher for life that finds its impressive expression in water flowing from the faucet and in the gift of a toolbox.
Br. Odo even experienced a life-threatening robbery. Such dangers assailed the competent but also very sensitive man.
In 2006 Br. Odo came home from Peramiho to regain his health. On 19 February 2008, he bade a definitive farewell to his beloved Peramiho Abbey and returned to Münsterschwarzach. For a short time, he helped in the metal workshop of the abbey. It was in the mission procura’s office that he could contribute his experience and assist daily in sending out the benefactors’ mail. The monastery dining room was the last place he served. With great willingness and fidelity, he performed this service of looking after the refectory. In the process, he once again demonstrated reliability, his charm in dealing with the most diverse people, and his cordiality.
Br. Odo was no preacher in word or writing. He was the living and tangible image of a person filled with God. He would not say so, but he lived it.
On Monday, 17 October 2022, at 2 p.m., we will celebrate the holy Eucharist for him and afterwards lay him to rest in the abbey cemetery.
Münsterschwarzach, 14 October 2022
Abbot Michael and the community of Münsterschwarzach