Former St. John's Abbot Eidenschink Dies at 89

By Michelle Tan
St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, MN)
June 21, 2004

"He'd been failing for a while," abbey spokesman the Rev. William Skudlarek said.

Eidenschink, born in Detroit Lakes, died at the abbey's retirement center, Skudlarek said.

Eidenschink had admitted he sexually abused one monk before he was elected abbot in 1971 and another during his eight-year tenure. The monks had professed their vows but had not been ordained.

The abbot is the highest-ranking member of the monastic community. He directs about 196 monks who sponsor and work at St. John's University, the Preparatory School and The Liturgical Press. St. John's Abbey monks also serve in parishes, hospitals and retirement homes.

The abuse accusations were "a very painful time for him and for all of us and for those who were harmed by him," Skudlarek said.

"He expressed his sorrow for the harm he had done, and I'm sure made his peace with God, and, to the degree it was possible, with those he had injured and harmed," Skudlarek said. "He expressed his sorrow, his repentance, his plea for forgiveness."

The abbey is thankful for the good Eidenschink did, Skudlarek said.

"He was a very conscientious and dedicated person in the tasks that were given to him," Skudlarek said. "He was certainly much more than the dark side, the negative side that was also there."

Skudlarek said he visited Eidenschink on Thursday.

"He was awake, sitting up, but somewhat disoriented and obviously very weak," he said.

Abbey leaders were told Friday that Eidenschink was dying, Skudlarek said.


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