Father Aubert Grieser
This is a letter Fr. Aubert sent to his father and
sister a week before ordination:
Franciscan Fathers Oldenburg, Indiana June 4, 1952 Dear Dad and Pat, The work is finished! This morning we each went into the library where Father Provincial, his advisors, and the faculty were assembled about a big long table. There was a big chair reserved for us at one end facing the Provincial at the other end. Then the professors started asking questions - each one asked for five minutes. At the end of that half-hour, the formal, remote preparation for each of us was finished. Last Saturday the written exams were begun and were finished yesterday. The material we were responsible for covered the last four years of work. Since Easter I've been studying an average of six hours a day and going to class besides. Last week and on the Sundays I put in about eight hours a day. Don't ask me how I could stand it. There is but one explanation- the Grace of Almighty God. It is coming all the time and I have had proof of the fact. While studying I was inspired on two occasions to look at some rules for pastors which ordinarily I would have skipped. When the examination questions were before me, there they were- the questions to the two answers I was inspired on the spur of the moment to look at. It feels like the last interest and principle on a big debt has been paid for- a debt which I contracted eleven years ago, and which took me eleven years to pay off. Now it looks like I have Almighty God's permission to be ordained. It's a tremendous thought thinking that in seven days you will have the power to bring Christ himself down from heaven on the altar, to know that you will have the power of forgiving sins- to know that you are a mediator between God and man. Only God could even think of giving such powers to a mere creature. I'm filled with peace and so very glad that I quit in the midst of the music affair to go after a goal so much more noble. Those letters which you kept sending so consistently were a big help. It is nice knowing that someone is in back of you and has a real genuine interest in what you are doing. Your prayers and sacrifices surely helped to get me through this grind. It is a real honest to goodness miracle. The Lord surely picked me up and set me on the straight and narrow path. A vocation is begun in the home; it is the example of holy parents that leads their sons to the altar. And my parents are ideal in this respect. That Mother in heaven has been very close to me during all this preparation, and I hope that she will not abandon me in the trials ahead. The spiritual joys of this affair are supreme, but God gives his hundred-fold even here on earth. The Fathers let us get things we will need for our future work. This letter is being typed with a brand new typewriter that I wish you could see - a sturdy big Royal with all the gadgets on it you could desire. I'm thrilled as a kid with a new toy. And you should see the watch- a white gold Hamilton - just what I always hoped I might someday have. When I look at them I have to say, here is what the good Lord has given to you because you tried to love him. Thank God along with me for this wonderful way of life. I want to say the first Low Mass Friday morning. I think Dad should serve for me. Tell Effie and Florence to be on hand for it. Then we can have a little reunion around the breakfast table at home. Keep those prayers going to heaven so all goes well. The hardest part of this business has been being away from you. Deepest love, Aubert
(Article from Brown and White, 1977):
(click on small picture to see larger image)
After St. Francis Seminary closed in 1980, Aubert took a trip to the Holy Land. While praying on Mount Sinai, he
asked God, "what am I to do with the rest of my life?" God answered him, "go and make beautiful gardens for my greater
honor and glory." Aubert's first calling had been the priesthood. His second calling was training future priests in
public speaking and singing. All those years he applied and nurtured the hobbies that he greatly enjoyed: music and
gardening. Now God had given him a third calling, to use the skills he had been developing to erect testimonials to
the beauty of heaven and greatness of almighty God. Aubert was often amazed at the natural wonders of earth (plants,
Grand Canyon, etc.) and he commented, "how can heaven possibly be more beautiful than this - - but it is!"
In February 1994, Father Aubert Grieser died from complications of leukemia at St. Clare Retirement Community. He was 73.
In 1998, Mike Niklas ('75) made a pilgrimage to Aubert's home state of Illinois to visit Aubert's sister, Pat. Pat and Bob Otto live near Peoria, Illinoi in a beautiful country setting similar to the landscape of St. Francis Seminary: gently rolling hills, a winding river, trees and open fields. They have two sons, Greg and Glen. Mike spent a day with Pat and her family, looking through photo albums, reliving memories, and sharing stories of the great, gentle man. Pat said the highlight of her life was the three weeks she spent with her brother on vacation in Europe (around 1980). They had visited several family members in Germany. Aubert was fluent in German, as he was raised in a bilingual home. After Aubert died, his personal items (records, tapes, photos, and books) were given to Pat for safekeeping. But, in 1998, she was moving to a smaller house where she wouldn't have room for all the boxes. She thought the items should be enjoyed and shared by people who knew and loved Aubert, so she gave everything to Mike Niklas for the Alumni Association, FAA CD projects, and this website. Mike brought most of the items to the 1998 alumni meeting that was held at St. Leonard in Dayton, Ohio. The Glee Club record that's featured on one of the FAA CDs is from Aubert's collection. Mike's only disappointment was that he was not able to find Aubert's reel-to-reel tapes of Glee Club rehearsals. The tapes had very high quality recordings of Transitus and state competition songs. (If any of you out there in cyberspace know where to find these tapes please send email to email@example.com). Pat, thank you for keeping your brother alive for us in memories and in our hearts.
Pat with one of those FAA web guys, in Illinois