Fr Paul Wessinger

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Fr Paul Wessinger

Birth
Death 22 May 2009 (aged 94)
Burial Foxboro, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 62150068 · View Source
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The Rev. Paul Wessinger, SSJE, 94 (1/7/1915 5/22/2009) Brother Paul Wessinger, SSJE, former superior of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (Episcopal) died on Friday, May 22, 2009, in Somerville, Mass., in the 95th year of his life, the 65th year of his religious profession and the day before the 69th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. A great-grandson of Henry and Louise Weinhard, Paul was born in the family house on Northwest 16th between Davis and Everett streets on Jan. 7, 1915, to Henry and Romayne Wessinger. He attended Couch Elementary School until 1923 when the family moved to Dunthorpe, where he attended The Riverdale School. Following the eighth grade, he attended Allen's Preparatory School prior to attending Harvard College in the fall of 1931, at the age of 16. He graduated from Harvard, class of 1936, and from The General Theological Seminary, New York City, Class of 1939. In 1998 he received an honorary Doctorate in Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary. Brother Paul was ordained deacon in 1939 and priest in 1940. He entered the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in 1940 and was life professed in 1945. For a number of years he served as an orderly on the men's surgical ward of Massachusetts General Hospital. He was there the night of the Coconut Grove nightclub fire in 1942 and assisted with treating many of the casualties. During the early 1950s, Paul worked for the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon, including parish work at St. John Episcopal Church in Bandon and St. Mark Episcopal Church in Portland. In 1965 he participated with other clergy and religious from Massachusetts in one of the Selma Freedom Marches. He served the Society in a number of ways, most notably as vicar of the Parish of St. Augustine and St. Martin; as novice guardian and then later as superior from 1972 to 1983. Paul was an early advocate of the ordination of women, and during his time as superior, the Society opened its guest house to women and brought its worship into line with liturgical changes being made in the wider Episcopal Church. After his service as superior, Paul was a founding member of the SSJE branch house in Durham, N.C., where he lived from 1983 until 1994. In 1994 he returned to the monastery in Cambridge, Mass. For the last years of his life he lived at the Jeanne Jugan Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor. A noted spiritual director, Paul influenced the lives of countless people within the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, as well other faiths. Throughout his life he had close contacts with the Roman Catholic Church, and in the days shortly after the Second Vatican Council he was instrumental in beginning the Arlington Conferences which brought Episcopal and Roman Catholic religious together for a week of shared prayer and conversations. Those conferences gave birth to a number of experiments in ecumenical monastic communities. Following a brief time in one such community, Paul was invited by the Sisters of the Love of God, an English Anglican monastic community for women, to act as the warden and chaplain to a new branch house for sisters in Kent, England. Paul loved the natural world, and had a passion for gardening and flowers; spring bulbs were a favorite. He enjoyed travel throughout his life including many trips to Europe, Asia and Africa. Languages came easily to him. He was fluent in French, and read from a French Bible. As a young man he enjoyed hiking and summer trips to Portland would always include visits to the alpine wildflower meadows of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. Later in life he developed baking skills and took pride in the bread he baked for his brothers of SSJE. He was predeceased by his parents as well as his brother, Fredrick Green Wessinger, and sister-in-law, Elizabeth Minott Wessinger. He is survived by his brother, William Wood Wessinger; sister-in-law, Patricia Wessinger; his nine nephews and nieces; and 21 great-nephews and -nieces; as well as his brothers in the Society of Saint John the Evangelis t. The Burial Office and Eucharist of the Resurrection was held at the Monastery Chapel at 980 Memorial Drive, Cambridge on June 16, 2009. Cremated at Mt. Auburn Crematory, Cambridge, MA. Interment of ashes took place at Gethsemane Cemetery, Foxborough MA.


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  • Created by: Tyndareas
  • Added: 25 Nov 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 62150068
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Fr Paul Wessinger (7 Jan 1915–22 May 2009), Find A Grave Memorial no. 62150068, citing Gethsemane Cemetery, Foxboro, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Tyndareas (contributor 46524102) .