Benedictine Brother Mark Bern diligently maintained Mount Michael’s vehicles, property

During 61 years of religious life, Brother Mark Bern had a broad yet tangible effect on his community at Mount Michael Benedictine Abbey – caring for cars, wastewater, farmland, cattle, cross country trails, vestments, finances and, of course, his fellow Benedictines.

He was known for his diligence and devotion.

Brother Mark died during dialysis on Jan. 6, exactly 61 years since he entered Mount Michael. He was 92.

A vigil service was scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 13 at the David “D.J.” Sokol Memorial Chapel on the Mount Michael campus in Elkhorn. A funeral Mass was set for 10:30 a.m. Jan. 14 at the chapel.

Burial will be at the Mount Michael Abbey Cemetery.

The monk, previously known as John Robert Bern, was born in Wahoo to Robert and Josephine (Woita) Bern. He attended St. Wenceslaus Catholic School in Wahoo and graduated from Wahoo High School in 1948.

He worked on his family’s farm until he was drafted into the Army in 1951.

Brother Mark served for two years in intelligence operations during the Korean War. After his discharge, he returned to the family farm and also worked at a meatpacking plant.

He joined the abbey in 1962 and entered the novitiate nearly seven months later. His first profession as a Benedictine monk was in 1963, when he took his religious name. Brother Mark made his perpetual vows in 1966.

“Many of his contributions to Mount Michael Abbey were in long-held assignments,” his community said in a written tribute. Brother Mark “was our chief auto mechanic and manager of our fleet of vehicles for the community until recent health issues slowed him in August 2022.”

Because of his diligent care, “vehicles often traveled more than 200,000 miles before being traded.”

Brother Mark was the abbey’s wastewater treatment plant operator for 38 years and in 1974 was honored by the Nebraska Water Pollution Control Association as one of the state’s outstanding wastewater plant operators.

He managed the abbey’s farm and property for 30 years.

Mount Michael Benedictine School’s well-maintained cross country trails are a testament to his stewardship,” the Benedictines said. The monk also served as a procurator, vestiarius and as a member of the Abbot’s Council.

Survivors include the Mount Michael Benedictine Abbey community; brother and sister-in-law Carl and Nancy Bern; nephews Thomas Bern and Steven (Mari) Bern; niece Susanna (Nathan) Carlton; and extended family and friends.

Memorials can be made to the Mount Michael Benedictine Abbey.


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