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Benedictine brother served at priory in Schuyler

A native of Germany who served 27 years as a fundraiser, goodwill ambassador and cook at the Benedictine Mission House and Christ the King Priory in Schuyler died of a heart attack Sept. 20 while vacationing in Berlin.

Brother Vianney (Richard) Rentmeister was 75. A funeral Mass was held Oct. 7 in the Münsterschwarzach Abbey Church in Bavaria, and interment was in the monastery cemetery. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the priory in Schuyler.

Brother Vianney professed his first vows in 1960 and solemn vows seven years later. He served at the abbey in procurement, the infirmary and gardens, before being transferred in 1978 to the St. Benedict Study House in Würzburg.

He arrived at the priory in Schuyler in 1983, and from 1985 to 1990 made friends in states including New Mexico, Wisconsin, Texas and Georgia while raising money for Benedictine missions around the world, said Father Thomas Leitner, administrator of the priory’s retreat house, St. Benedict Center.

"He was really conscientious in doing his work well," Father Thomas said. "Since he also traveled for the missions, there were thousands of people he had contact with."

In 1990, Brother Vianney went to work in the priory kitchen but continued to travel and contact donors, Father Thomas said. Among other activities in the kitchen, Brother Vianney baked and sold a German fruit bread called stollen at the monks’ annual craft show.

In 2010, Brother Vianney returned to Münsterschwarzach Abbey and until his death served in the reception area.

A prayerful man, "Brother Vianney was very faithful to the Divine Office," Father Thomas said. "He was faithful to his monastic vocation."

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