Father Rene Guesnier, OSB (Order of St. Benedict)
The old Latin Mass: ‘How beautiful it is!’
Father Rene is pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Seward.
SKR: Why did you enter religious life?
Father Rene Guesnier, OSB: In the study of St. Thomas Aquinas in Philosophy I came across his teaching about the religious life. He said somewhere that it was the most perfect way of life. That was my primary reason.
SKR: Why did you choose your particular congregation?
Father Rene: My first eight years in the seminary were for the Wichita Diocese and later the Dodge City Diocese. After college, Bishop Franz released me to join (the Order of St. Benedict at) Conception Abbey. I loved those first few years in the abbey. I loved the example of the Benedictine monks and the abbey’s dedication to the celebration of the Divine Office and the sacred liturgy. Abbot Stephen Schappler was a good holy Abbot and was serious about leading us to heaven. It was a great start. SKR: What have been your greatest challenges as a religious?
Father Rene: By far the changes that took place after Vatican II left me bewildered and I still have a difficult time. The glory days at the abbey were my days before Vatican II and the chaos that followed still leaves me bewildered. So many of my professors left the abbey. So many changes took place. I tried to adjust but deep down in my soul I just didn’t think that what I was doing was right. I went along and still do. Being obedient is the most difficult challenge.
SKR: What have been your greatest joys?
Father Rene: My joys were the early years at the abbey and being able once again to offer the “old Latin Mass.” How beautiful it is! Knowing that Jesus and our blessed Mother love me.
SKR: What kind of ministries have you been/are you involved in?
Father Rene: I have served at the abbey in various jobs. I spent over 20 years in the Army. The rest of the years were in parochial work.
SKR: Please offer a quote that makes a statement about the value of religious life for you.
Father Rene: I really have two. 1) “Obedience trumps everything.” 2) When things get tough, St. Paul reminds me, “To live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given Himself up for me.” (Galatians)