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March 2018


Dear Abbot Pennings,

How is Father Gene Gries doing these days?

Catherine (Schmitz) Jacobs ’56


Greetings, my dear Catherine.

How kind of you to inquire! What a wondrous community we have here at St. Norbert College. Though people come and go from our campus, our kinship with them remains as fervent as ever.

Our beloved Father Gries presently is serving as prior of Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey in Albuquerque, N.M. In fact, a very special and notable occasion is forthcoming for the dear man. But first, do oblige me as I share a bit more about the Very Rev. Eugene Gries ’62 and his connection with St. Norbert College. I do know that many of our readers have not yet been presented with an opportunity to meet the fine fellow. 

Gries graduated from St. Norbert College in 1962 and was ordained a priest on March 19, 1968. From 1973 to 2009, he served St. Norbert College and the Norbertines in various roles, including dean of men, dean of student life, pastor of Old St. Joseph Church and director of campus ministry, house superior of St. Joseph Priory, student life staff member, prior of the Priory of St. Moses the Black, and prior and vocation coordinator at St. Norbert Abbey. Additionally, he served several terms as a member of the board of trustees, and was a member of the president’s cabinet and the abbot’s council. How honored we are to have had Father Gries serve in such pivotal roles! Today, he continues to serve the Norbertines as prior of Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey.

Those who attended SNC during Gries’s tenure in student life refer to him as a caring and fair disciplinarian. It was in this role that he earned the respect and admiration of so many. How fitting is it, now, to have a residence named in his honor on our campus?

Now, back to the aforementioned special occasion! Do join me in congratulating Gries as he celebrates his 50th jubilee on March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph. Thank you, Father Gries, for your many years of service, love and commitment to St. Norbert College and the Norbertine order! 

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, who founded St. Norbert College in 1898. 

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