Father Milton Eggerling, former St. James Society Member

By Father Robert M. O’grady
March 07, 2008

Bishop Robert Hennessey was the principal celebrant and homilist at the funeral of his longtime friend and fellow member of the St. James Society, Father Milton Eggerling. Father Eggerling died at Massachusetts General Hospital on Feb. 29 following complications from intestinal surgery.

A native of Orient, S.D., Father Eggerling came from a large family -- he once commented that his family comprised 5 percent of the small town’s population. As you read about his various ministerial assignments it will be obvious he was genuinely a citizen of the world and no one diocese could contain him or his enthusiasm.

His parents Milton and Josephine (Ritter) raised the family just outside of Aberdeen, S.D., in the Sioux Falls Diocese. Father Eggerling was born in Orient March 18, 1921. Following education in local schools he attended a small local college and left to enter the Army, serving in World War II from 1940-1945. He returned to Creighton University in Omaha and completed college at the University of San Francisco. He entered St. Patrick, the San Francisco archdiocesan seminary, and Archbishop John Mitty ordained him to the priesthood for his home diocese, Sioux Falls on June 11, 1954 at the “city by the bay’s” St. Mary Cathedral.

He returned to the Midwest and began a series of varied assignments: St. Mary, Marion; and St. Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls, both in South Dakota; Corpus Christi, St. Paul, Minn.; Little Flower, Minot, N.D. then to the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, then back to Sioux Falls and Aberdeen. In 1976 he was incardinated as a priest of the Oakland diocese across the bay from San Francisco, he served at St. Felicitas, San Leandro and Corpus Christi, Piedmont.

In the ’80s Milton was in Austin, Texas, where he participated in and helped form programs in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). He served in the Society of St. James in Peru for three years taking up that challenge at 66 years of age!

He retired to the Society’s archdiocesan home at St. Stephen Rectory in Boston’s North End in 1993 and at the invitation of then-Father Robert Hennessey he moved approximately two years ago to Most Holy Redeemer in East Boston.

A kind and quiet man, he had a twinkle in his eye and was thoroughly considerate of others, and easily and readily endeared himself to people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and religious persuasions.

His funeral Mass was at St. Stephen Church, Boston on March 4. More than 30 priests concelebrated and 100 people assembled for the Mass. Following the Mass, Father Eggerling was buried in the Priests’ Lot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden. In addition to his priest friends, Father Eggerling is survived by five sisters: Beverly, Patricia, Laurene, Marlene and Donna all of California.


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