Date of death: 4/29/2009
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1929
Father Theodore Heck OSB, monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, died in the monastery infirmary at the age of 108. He was believed to be the world’s oldest Benedictine monk.Father Theodore was a jubilarian in monastic profession and priesthood, the senior member of the Swiss-American Congregation in profession, priesthood and age, and the senior in age of the entire confederation of Benedictine monks throughout the world.Father Theodore was born in Chariton, Iowa, on January 16, 1901. He enrolled in the minor seminary at Saint Meinrad in 1918. He entered the novitiate in 1922, professed his simple vows on September 8, 1923, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1929. He would have celebrated his 80th anniversary as a priest next month. After ordination, Father Theodore taught in the minor seminary. In 1932, he began graduate studies at The Catholic University of America, earning a PhD in education in 1935. For over 50 years, he taught in the Saint Meinrad minor and major seminaries and held a variety of administrative positions.For 10 years, from 1956-66, he was rector of Saint Meinrad School of Theology, also serving as rector of Saint Meinrad College for three of those years. He was responsible for gaining accreditation for Saint Meinrad’s high school, college and school of theology at that time. For 17 years, he served as subprior (third in leadership) in the monastery and, for three years, as prior (second in leadership). He was a founding member of the American Benedictine Academy, serving as its first president from 1947-57.At age 70, he began 17 years of pastoral service as vicar of St. John Chrysostom Parish, New Boston, Ind. During these years, he continued to teach on the college faculty.