Fr. George Wolf, O.S.B. (1916-2013)
Fr. George Wolf, O.S.B. died peacefully at Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, yesterday, May 20, 2013.
Fr. George was the last of the great Benedictine pioneers from Minnesota who served the Church and the people of The Bahamas for their entire priestly ministry.
The monks of Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota assumed responsibility for the Catholic Mission in The Bahamas in 1891. After providing Episcopal leadership and establishing numerous parishes as well as St. Augustine’s Monastery and St. Augustine’s College, they formally ended their mission to The Bahamas in 2005.
In August 1944 Fr. George arrived in The Bahamas as a young priest. He was 28 years old. He had only been ordained a priest one month earlier. He served the local Catholic community in numerous capacities. He served as pastor, business manager, advisor to the bishop and in many other ways.
His pastoral assignments included various parishes in New Providence among them St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, St. Anselm, Sacred Heart, Our Lady’s and Holy Family. He served as pastor of the parishes of North Eleuthera and while holding this post he was also fiscal officer for the then, Diocese of Nassau. Fr. George served almost every other Bahamian island where the Catholic Church was present. His final assignment was St. Theresa’s in George Town, Exuma. This assignment he held while at the same time being business manager for St. Augustine’s Monastery and St. Augustine’s College.
Fr. George was a talented builder. The Bahama Catholic, in its Feb/March 2006 edition reports:
“Gifted with the talent for constructing churches, schools and convents with limited funds, Fr. George was appointed business manager in charge of all the diocese’ building in 1950 until 1960. … He supervised the construction of Sacred Heart School (1952), the new Xavier Lower School (1954) St. Thomas More School and Church, St. Cecilia’s School and Church, Aquinas College, St. Bede’s School, additions to St. Joseph Church and St. Anselm’s School, St. Theresa Church and Holy Name School, Convent and Rectory. Fr. George was also in charge of the construction of St. Augustine’s Monastery in 1947. Significantly, he was one of the first Benedictine Monks to occupy the monastery and the last of the original group to leave.”
The number of baptisms and weddings he performed are too many to mention. The lives he touched are countless. Indeed his contribution to the spiritual development of our community is invaluable. Fr. George returned to Saint John’s Abbey in 2006 after serving The Bahamas for 62 years. At the time of his death, Fr. George was 97 years old.
In his person, holiness was palpable. His simplicity, his quiet generosity, his perseverance, his dependability, his commitment, in short, his character, serve us as a very rare and outstanding example of both priestly ministry and exemplary Christian living. He will long be remembered among us.
The reception of Fr. George’s body will be on Thursday May 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Saint John’s Abbey. His funeral will be held on Friday May 24 at 3:30 p.m. Msgr. Preston A. Moss will be the official representative of the Archdiocese at the funeral. Fr. George will be interred in the Abbey cemetery in Minnesota alongside other Benedictine pioneers who served with distinction in The Bahamas.
May he rest in peace!
-The Most Reverend Patrick C. Pinder, S.T.D.
Archbishop of Nassau