Franciscan Friar Simon Sauer dies

Conventual Franciscan Friar Simon Sauer, 87, died Aug. 7.

Father Sauer served as a pastor, in missionary ministry and as a chaplain.

A native of Louisville, Father Sauer attended St. Vincent de Paul School, St. Xavier High School and St. Mary College in Lebanon, Ky.

He entered the Conventual Franciscan community on July 4, 1950, and professed solemn vows on July 8, 1954. He was ordained a priest on June 1, 1957.

In the Archdiocese of Louisville, he served as assistant pastor of St. Paul Church before being assigned to the mission in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).

He was known as being a “sought-after confessor” both among parishioners and with the clergy and other religious in Zambia, according to his community. He was chosen to hear confessions in Rome during the Holy Year of 2000. On Holy Thursday of that year, he was one of 12 people to have their feet washed by Pope John Paul II, now St. John Paul II. Before leaving Rome, he concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father in his private chapel.

Upon returning to the United States, Father Sauer spent 25 years as a chaplain at several hospitals, including Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the VA Medical Center in Louisville and with the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Since his retirement in 2008, he served at the Franciscan Kitchen three days a week, served as confessor for three communities of women religious and offered Mass at nursing homes.

Survivors include a sister, Joan Murta, and brothers Kenneth and Edward.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in the chapel at Mount St. Francis in Southern Indiana on Aug. 10, followed by burial in the friars’ cemetery.

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, Development Office, 103 St. Francis Blvd., Mt. St. Francis, Ind., 47146. For more details and pictures of Father Sauer’s life and service, visit the franciscansusa.org.

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