Homily From Funeral Mass for Br. Gus Schloesser, osc - Phoenix
Homily given by Fr. Tom Enneking, osc, conventual prior of the Crosier Fathers and Brothers
On Monday of this week, we sang the following portion of Psalm 90: “Our life is a mere seventy years, eighty with good health, and all it gives us toil and distress; then the thread breaks and we are gone.” We are stunned and shocked by Gus' sudden death since he lived like he was 77 going on 24! At the community meeting after his stroke, the group assigned all the different things Gus was doing to different members—it took our whole group to cover everything Gus was doing! He was our Ever-Ready Bunny, he just kept on going and thrived on being active right to the end.
We are left with some very strong impressions about Gus' life and how he lived and shared the gifts that God gave him. He was filled with a spirit of hospitality and loving warmth. From opening the gates into the courtyard and doors of the church ever morning to being the first Crosier visitors to the campus often encountered, Gus exuded a incredibly gracious spirit of welcome and acceptance to people he met. I will always remember his attention to the details of hospitality he demonstrated when I was ordained in St. Paul, Minnesota. My parents came to St. Paul from our family farm in central Minnesota the day before the ordination and stayed at a local hotel. When they got to their room, they found a lovely bouquet of flowers and a congratulatory note from Gus, a thoughtful gesture my parents never forgot.
As a religious brother, he exemplified the devotion to manual labor that he received during his formation into Crosier brotherhood and his willingness to serve where the Order thought he was most needed. He lived and served in local communities and also our generalate community in Rome. There was not a task he was not willing to do from preparing menus or putting on a delicious meal, to shopping, taking out the garbage, doing dishes, arranging for car repair, and seeing to the maintenance of our facility here at Crosier Village.
While he loved to be active, his many engagements and activities were marked by a loving and joyful spirit. We have been very touched by the many people who took time to visit him the week he was in the hospital even though he was no longer conscious. He fostered a very large circle of connections with a wide range of people. The spirit with which he lived his life has touched all of us and we are better people for his example.
We will remember Gus' appreciation for beauty. He had a great love for plants and flowers. The peace plant given by our staff is a recognition of his sensitivity to the beauty of creation. We discovered that the screen shot on his phone was a photo of a cactus bloom at our former residence on Campbell Avenue.
Gus also had a special place in his heart for people and families dealing with Alzheimer's disease. His ministry at Huger Mercy Center meant a great deal to him; it touched him personally as two members of his immediately family have been affected by this disease.
While we deeply grieve his passing, we do so mindful of the deep faith that Gus had in Christ and the promise of eternal life flowing from Christ's resurrection. We believe he has come to the fullness of life he began in baptism. May he be surrounded by the gifts of hospitality and loving warmth in the life ahead.