Photo : Das Kloster Schweiklberg in Vilshofen an der Donau, framed | By High Contrast – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0 de

Br. Raphael (Johannes Evangelist) Lang OSB

Br. Raphael was born on 12 March 1947 in Großbüchlberg, Mitterteich, as the son of the farmer Josef Lang and his wife Ottilie. He was baptized on 17 March in the parish church of Mitterteich with the name Johann Evangelist Konrad. He grew up with four siblings. One of his two sisters is alive as Sr. Margaret of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. After attending primary school in Mitterteich he entered the brothers’ seminary of our abbey on 4 September 1961 and began his apprenticeship in the monastery garden.

On 9 September 1964, at the age of 17, Johann entered our abbey and was admitted into the postulancy the same day. On the 23rd of the same month, he took his journeyman’s exam. His admittance into the novitiate followed on 18 September 1965 and on this day he received his religious name of Raphael. He made his first profession on 24 September 1966 and on 14 January 1973, he bound himself to our community for life with his solemn vows. He passed his master’s exam in 1971 and then took over some of the management tasks, relieving his master Br. Alois Sindermann. In 1976 he took over the complete management of the garden. Since the time of his apprenticeship, our confrere was virtually “planted” in the garden. During his time managing the garden, Br. Raphael trained more than 50 apprentices. Until 1985 he gave specialized classes in our private vocational school. He also served on the trade guild’s examination board. His work as a gardener also included providing flowers for decorating the abbey church. Beautiful flowers in the place of worship was a matter close to his heart! But working in the garden was not the only place he was serving in our monastic community. Br. Raphael was involved in our monastery fire brigade. From 1983 to 1996 he was its first commandant. Moreover, at the age of 68 he discovered beekeeping for himself. He developed his skills to such a degree that by the end of year 2020 he had filled all 34 places in the apiary with complete beehives.

A severe blood disease marked the last seven years of his life. With iron energy, which was always true of him, he survived the necessary painful treatments. He worked in the garden for another six years until in 2020 his health forced him to give up its management. But his beloved bees Br. Raphael cared for until the day he could no longer leave his sickroom. As long as his health allowed, he continued to take part in the monastic prayer and in the community meals. On Sunday, 25 July 2021, while the community was praying Midday Prayer in the abbey church, Br. Raphael quietly and unnoticed crossed over into the “Garden of God’s Paradise.”

We thank our confrere Raphael for his tireless effort and his life as a monk.

We remember him in prayer and at Holy Mass.

— Prior Administrator Fr. Richard Multerer OSB
and the monks of Schweiklberg Abbey