Father Bruno Fuhrmann, OSB, monk of Subiaco Abbey, died Jan. 24, 2018. At the time of his death, Father Bruno was 88 years old. He had been a professed monk for 68 years and a priest for 63 years.
Father Bruno Fuhrmann, OSB, youngest son of Joseph and Mary (Orth) Fuhrmann, was born on July 31, 1929, in Gainesville, Texas, and named Bernard. He attended St. Peter School in Lindsay and came to Subiaco Academy in 1943 where he joined his brother, Brother Michael. Bernard graduated with the class of 1947. He entered the novitiate of Subiaco Abbey in 1948, making his religious profession Sept. 15, 1949, receiving the name Bruno. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1954, at Subiaco Abbey by Bishop Albert L. Fletcher of the Diocese of Little Rock.
Father Bruno held a variety of positions since his ordination. He taught at Subiaco Academy for one year while serving as pastor of St. Scholastica Church in Shoal Creek, Arkansas. In 1956-57 he was pastor of St. Mary Church in Altus. From 1957-65 he served as Assistant Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Muenster, Texas. While in Muenster, he was also assigned to the teaching and administration staff of Sacred Heart High School. After returning from Texas, Father Bruno served as Assistant Pastor of St. Edward Church, Little Rock, followed by pastorates at St. Scholastica Church, Shoal Creek, and Sacred Heart Church, Charleston, respectively. In addition he held the important post of Abbey Procurator and Treasurer from 1974-1990, serving the community as a Consultor for most of those years.
From 1992 to 2002, Father Bruno served as a missionary at Santa Familia Monastery, Belize, Central America. He did pastoral work in the village of Santa Familia as well as in St. Ignatius Parish in Santa Elena Town. At the monastery Father Bruno worked in the garden raising beans, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, corn, peanuts, jalapeno, and Habanero peppers. These foods supplied some of the needs of the monastery and retreat center. Father Bruno was one of the pioneers of the famous Santa Familia Monastery Hot Sauce; he grew the peppers and assisted in the cooking and bottling of this “hell fire.” His talents as a mechanic were also put to good use in repairing tools, etc. Of his decade’s work in Belize, Father Bruno said that he is indebted to the Belizean people for their kindness to him and for the many things he was able to learn from them. On his return to the United States,
Father Bruno served as pastor of St. Ignatius Church, Scranton, Arkansas, from 2002-03, the last Subiaco Abbey priest to serve in this parish. In May 2003 he was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Assumption Church, Booneville, Arkansas, with residence at Subiaco Abbey. During the weekdays he worked a few hours at the sawmill with his older brother, Brother Michael, and assisted with other duties on the Abbey Farm.
From early childhood Father Bruno’s favorite outdoor pastime was fishing. Wherever he was stationed, he always found time to go "fishin." Many stories recounted his expertise as a fisherman, and Father Bruno laughed as long and as well as those who told the stories. To the end he still enjoyed supplying fish for the monastic tables. Evening recreation would find Father Bruno ready to challenge an opponent at ping-pong, pool, cards, or dominos. At 88 years of age, Father Bruno still greeted each new day with a big smile.
While serving as pastor in Booneville, Fr. Bruno celebrated his 50th sacerdotal jubilee in 2004. His one request to those preparing the celebration meal was that frog legs be served. In 2016 Fr. Bruno was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While receiving treatments he continued his daily trip to the sawmill, where logs were turned into countless board feet of lumber for use in our carpentry shop or for sale. About one month before his death, Father Bruno began a steady but rapid decline. He asked for the sacrament of the sick, which Abbot Leonard administered with many community members in attendance.
Survivors include a sister, Juliana Grewing of Muenster, Texas, and numerous nieces and nephews. A Christian Wake service will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, and the liturgy of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in St. Benedict Church at Subiaco. Interment will be in the Abbey Cemetery under the direction of Roller Funeral Home of Paris.
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