|Birth: ||Dec. 7, 1925|
|Death: ||Jan. 14, 2014|
San Luis Obispo County
Conventual Franciscan priest
Fr. Norbert (Francis Xavier) was born December 7, 1925 in Baltimore, Maryland to Jacob & Agnes Schaffer Rackensperger. He was the fifth of seven children, having two brothers and four sisters. The Rackensperger family had settled in the Baltimore area after the arrival in 1846 of the immigrant ancestor Daniel Rackensperger with his family from a village near Darmstadt, Hesse. Fr. Norbert grew up in the Baltimore area and graduated high school in 1943. In August of 1943 he enlisted in the United States Army to begin his service during the Second World War.
Father's military service began in January of 1944 when he entered the Miami Beach basic training program for 90 days. Next he was off to Cochran Field Georgia, Martha Berry College, for 10 weeks, where he studied math and flight training. Next he returned to Cochran Field near Macon, Georgia where he stayed until March of 1945. Next he went to preflight school in San Antonio, Texas for 3 months, then on to Goodfellow Field outside of San Angelo, Texas for the line training. At Richmond, Virginia in November of 1945 Fr. Norbert was honorably discharged. Fr. Norbert returned home to Baltimore in November 1945. He started college in January of 1946 at Loyola University in Baltimore; he graduated college in January of 1949 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. Young Francis's first job after college was for the Davis Paint Company in Baltimore for 6-7 months. In August of 1949 he applied and entered the Novitiate for the Conventual Franciscans in Lake Forest, Illinois. Fr. Norbert spent one year as a novice then went on to make simple vows in August 1950. Next he went to theology at Catholic University in Washington D.C. for four years. He received a licentiate in Theology in 1954 and was ordained on May 29, 1954 at the Old Cathedral in Baltimore with six other men, two of which were Franciscans. After ordination Fr. Norbert was assigned to Loup City, Nebraska to work at a hospital for a month to cover for a priest who went on vacation. On September 7, 1954 Fr. Norbert reported to his first full time assignment to the high school, day school seminary at St. Mary's Seminary in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Fr. Norbert taught science and math to the high school students for 18 years. Father became the principal in 1963 and remained till 1972. The seminary enrollment was about 100 students. From there Fr. Norbert was sent to Queen of Angels Parish in Riverside, CA to be the Pastor for three years after which he was assigned to Hartland, Wisconsin from 1975-78 to be the guardian of the house. In 1978 he returned to California to serve as a chaplain to the juvenile hall at Riverside, California for 4 months. His next assignment was to Eureka, California to be pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in February of 1979. Fr. Norbert then was asked to come and replace a Pastor who was sick in Stockton, California in Oct. 1979 and remained there till August of 1981. Thereafter he was sent to St. Thomas Parish in Riverside as an associate Pastor in August of 1981. Fr. Norbert was asked to take the Pastorate after the Pastor died unexpectedly in November 1984. Father remained as pastor for ten years. In 1994 he was assigned to New Cuyama, California as the pastor of a 100 family parish. He was assigned in 1997 to St. Paul parish in Coalinga, California as Pastor. This was to be Father's last assignment in parochial ministry. In November of 2008, approaching his eighty-third birthday, Father Norbert left Coalinga to enter his retirement years in Pismo Beach, CA. In March of 2013 Father came to live at his community's provincialate in Arroyo Grande, CA. It was there on the evening of January 14, 2014 that Father Norbert rested from his labors and entered eternal life. Father Norbert's remains will be placed in the Friars' cemetery in Arroyo Grande.
Saint Joseph of Cupertino Province Cemetery
San Luis Obispo County
Created by: Anonymous
Record added: Jan 14, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 123460337
Rest In Peace, Father Norbert!|
Added: Feb. 20, 2014