Friday, August 4, 2017


On this feast of St John Marie Vianney, patron of priests, I think it appropriate to introduce a priest little known in our area, but not the midwest. 

After College I was associated with the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration at Clyde, MO, and heard many stories about SERVANT of GOD FATHER LUCAS ETLAN, who is now being considered for canonization.

Born Albert Etlin in Sarnen,Switzerland, the capital of Canton Obwalden in the foothills of the Swiss Alps, where I once stayed a week with the Benedictine nuns. He studied with the Benedictines at the beautiful Benedictine Abbey of Engelberg. While still a student, he met a monk from America who was asking for young men to come to the United States , so in 1886 he left for the US, where he joined the Benedictines in Conception Abbey, Missouri, and took the religious named Lukas.

A talented artist, he painted several of the abbey’s murals. From 1892 until his death he was chaplain to the Benedictine Sisters two miles away from his Abbey. He would daily make the walk, but in the severe winter of 1894 he became lost in a snowstorm. After this he resided at the nuns convent.

His great love for the Eucharist was expressed in a magazine he had the nuns start, “Tabernacle and Purgatory” (today “Spirit & Life”).  He had a great love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and promoted the devotion, which he hoped would be in every Catholic home. He was instrumental in persuading the Sisters to embrace a more monastic way of life with primacy given to the celebration of the Divine Office and to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Through the journal he collected funds for European relief during World War I and after the war started a relief service, known as Caritas. Within two months he raised almost $25,000 ( a lot of money in those days) and between 1920 & 1927 over two million dollars were sent to monasteries and convents, seminaries & orphanages, ravaged by the war.

He also raised money for scholarships for 2,800 seminarians among whom 3 became cardinals, five archbishops, 20, bishops and 14 abbots.  

On December 16, 1927, Father Lukas offered Mass at the convent in Clyde, and at 8:30 a.m. taught a religion class to the girls of St. Joseph's Academy.  He told the girls (in the spirit of St. Benedict):  We must at all times be ready to die. We should not wish to live even a single day longer than God wills. Should death overtake us in an automobile, also then we should accept it with resignation to the will of God.

Eight hours later, Father Lukas lay dead at the side of the highway in Stanberry, Missouri, the victim of an automobile accident. At the moment of the crash, he was heard to cry out, "O Jesus, Jesus!" When help came, Father Lukas was already dead, with a piece of his rosary held fast in his hand.

Since his death, Father Lukas has obtained numerous graces and favors for those who have recourse to his intercession.

1 comment:

  1. Missouri ... my Benedictine roots. Much love to you, Mother Hildegard. Would like to visit you again.