April 4, 2015
On March 24, 2015, Subiaco Abbey gained two new superiors. Abbot Leonard Wangler, OSB was elected as Subiaco’s 7
th Abbot; he then appointed Br. Edward Fischesser, OSB as Prior of Subiaco Abbey. The Prior in Benedictine monasteries holds the first place after the abbot whom he assists in the government of the monastery, and whose place he supplies in his absence.
Born on January 23, 1947, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Edward received his elementary and secondary education in Cincinnati. Edward had been attracted to the religious life from a young age and after high school graduation, he made plans to join the Franciscan Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis. He entered the novitiate of the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis at Mt. Alverno in Cincinnati on September 17, 1966. In 1970 he was assigned to the Brothers’ apostolate at Angel Guardian Orphanage in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended classes at DePaul University and served as a dorm supervisor in the high school boys’ department of the orphanage. Then he was an elementary school teacher in New Jersey and Cincinnati. On August 15, 1973, he made final profession of vows and was assigned to Morris School for Boys, teaching 5
th through 9
th grades and served briefly as acting assistant principal before the school closed in 1994.
In September, 1994, when the Brothers had to give up Morris School because of their declining community, he applied to enter Subiaco Abbey, where another former Franciscan confrere, Brother Joseph Koehler, had entered the previous year. Describing his transfer from the Franciscan Order to the Benedictines in the August 22, 1998, edition of the
"Over the years the dwindling number of brothers made it impossible to live in a large community. Some members lived alone in an apartment or at most were together in twos or threes. I felt called to live in a larger community. And I wanted a more structured prayer life, so I began the discernment process that led to my transfer to the Benedictine community in Subiaco."
He professed his vows as a Benedictine monk of Subiaco Abbey on August 15, 1998.
Brother Edward was appointed Manager of the Abbey laundry by Abbot Jerome Kodell, an apostolate he most efficiently and faithfully has fulfilled until the present day. During an average month, the Abbey laundry might do up to 4,000 pounds (2 tons) of laundry, tending not only to the washing and pressing of monks' attire, but also linens for the Abbey proper, Abbey infirmary, retreat center, kitchen, and Academy.
In addition to managing the Abbey laundry, Brother Edward is responsible for the Abbey's greenhouse and flower gardens. An avid gardener in his spare time, Brother Edward also enjoys nature walks, and has an extensive collector of butterflies, Native American pottery, and arrowheads. Congenial in manner and possessing a lively wit and intellect, Brother Edward has been described by several of his confreres as a "solid, reliable person all-around" in his prayer life, his fulfillment of duties, his sense of responsibility and stewardship, as well as in his relations with people he comes in contact with.