Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Stanley's Light

Each of us has been around persons who show their inner strength as they age. This has certainly been true of the former president of the College of Saint Benedict, Dr. Stanley Idzerda. It was appropriate that he went to his heavenly home on the feast of Transfiguration at the age of 93. One of his hallmarks was boundless enthusiastic energy. When asked, “How are you doing?” he was known to wholeheartedly respond, “I’m flourishing.”

Another quality Stanley lived out was an unflagging faithfulness even in his 80s and 90s. We at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn., came to cherish the stability and resonance he lent to our monastic choir by his daily presence of at our 7 a.m. Morning Praise, even the morning of his death.  Winter did not deter him. He would clamp metal spikes onto his shoes so he would not slip while walking several blocks from his home to chapel. Often he was accompanied back and forth under the watchful eyes of Sister Ruth Anne Schneider, so both dignity and safety remained intact.

Somehow the words of Elisabeth Kϋbler-Ross come to mind when I think of Stanley, or “Brother Stanley” as we monastics preferred to refer to him. “People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within.”

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

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