|Birth: ||Apr. 18, 1915|
|Death: ||Oct. 16, 2000|
The Rt. Rev. Valentine Skluzacek, O.S.B., 85, Seventh Abbot of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle, died Monday, Oct. 16, 2000, at Edward Hospital in Naperville.
The 10th in a family of 11 children, he was born on a farm midway between New Prague and Lonsdale, Minn., on April 18, 1915. Four of his older brothers attended the Benedictine schools in Lisle, and in 1929, he also entered St. Procopius Academy.
After the completion of his sophomore year at the college, he applied for entrance into the monastic community. He made his novitiate at St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minn., and professed vows on July 11, 1936.
As a cleric, Father Valentine served as a prefect and history instructor at St. Procopius Academy. On May 23, 1942, he was ordained to the priesthood in his native Lonsdale by a cousin, Bishop Louis Kucera of Lincoln, Neb. The next year, he completed a master's degree in political science at The Catholic University of America.
Over the next three decades, he would, amidst many other assignments, teach a variety of political science and history courses in the community's schools. He would be remembered as quite a good instructor, putting his whole heart into his teaching, as he would into whatever tasks he would undertake throughout a long life.
Father Valentine was marked out early as a man fit for major administrative responsibilities. From 1943 to 1946, he served as the monastery's procurator. During the postwar period, he was instrumental in the development of St. Procopius College. He was dean of men from 1947 to 1956, dean of students from 1956 to 1963 and dean of studies from 1963 to 1964.
In 1964, Abbot Daniel Kucera entrusted Father Valentine with the role of headmaster of St. Procopius Academy, where he worked closely with the new principal, Father Ronald Rigovsky. After three years, he returned to the college as chairman of the social science division. He was honored with the school's Distinguished Educator Award in 1969.
Two years later, when his novitiate classmate Abbot Thomas Havlik was elected abbot, Father Valentine succeeded him as pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Lisle. There he instituted a parish council and established a number of Bible study classes and charismatic prayer groups. He also directed the building of a much-needed new church, which was completed in 1977.
On June 8, 1978, Father Valentine was elected the seventh abbot of St. Procopius Abbey. During the following seven years, he labored in many ways to guide the community and its apostolic works in the continuing effort to carry out the renewal mandated by the Second Vatican Council. Abbot Valentine had the honor of presiding over the Abbey's centenary celebrations from 1984 to 1985.
Resigning when he turned 70 in 1985, he was glad to turn over the burdens of office to Abbot Hugh Anderson. But readiness still to be of service soon brought him to northern Wisconsin, where he agreed to serve as administrator of King of Martyrs Priory near Fifield.
After returning to the Abbey in 1989, Abbot Valentine continued in various ways to assist with the community's work, assisting with development work of Illinois Benedictine College, offering Mass at a nursing home and providing spiritual direction of several lay groups.
The vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at the Abbey, 5601 College Road, Lisle, and the Mass of Christian burial will be at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, with interment at the Abbey Cemetery.
Saint Procopius Abbey Cemetery
Created by: James Seidelman
Record added: Oct 22, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 5084306