Father Bernard Horzen, OSB, longtime St. Bede teacher, dies

Photo Caption: Father Bernard, a native of LaSalle, taught at St. Bede Academy for more than five decades, headed its science department for 25 years, and is the former pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Dalzell.

PERU — Father Bernard Horzen, OSB, monk and priest of St. Bede Abbey, died at 5:20 a.m. Thursday morning, Dec. 8, ten days short of his 85th birthday, at St. Joseph Nursing Home in Lacon, where he had been a patient since September of 2010.

Father Bernard taught at St. Bede Academy for more than five decades and is the former pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Dalzell.

Abbot Philip Davey, OSB, of St. Bede will presided at the funeral Mass at 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, with burial following in the abbey cemetery.

Father Bernard, born in LaSalle on Dec. 18, 1926, was the son of Anton and Josephine (Kukman) Horzen. After completing his elementary education at St. Roch’s Grade School, he attended St. Bede Academy and Junior College from 1940 to 1946. He then entered the monastery’s novitiate, then at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., in July of 1946 and professed his first vows as a monk of St. Bede on July 11, 1947.

Father Bernard completed his college studies with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minn., in 1949. He subsequently spent four years in theological studies at St. Bede and was ordained to the priesthood on May 3, 1953, by Bishop William E. Cousins at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Peoria.

In 2003 he celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in the abbey church at St. Bede.

Assigned to teach science at St. Bede Academy, he first returned to St. John’s University for a bachelor of science degree in1955, and then earned a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Notre Dame in 1957. During his long teaching career of more than 50 years he also attended 17 summer sessions at 13 different universities in physics, chemistry, and computer science.

At St. Bede Academy, in addition to physics and chemistry, he also taught mathematics, physical science, and radiation and computer science, and coached the scholastic bowl team for 21 years.

He also served as prefect of boarding students, as kitchen manager for five years, as manager of the bookstore, snack bar, and concessions for 12 years, as moderator of the science club for 12 years, and as head of the science department for 25 years.

He was named administrator of St. Thomas More Parish in Dalzell in 2001, and became pastor two years later. He retired to St. Bede Abbey in 2009.

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