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Every Thanksgiving we honor our monks who are celebrating special anniversaries. This year our confrere Fr. Rene Guesnier celebrates 60 years of monastic profession. Fr. Daniel Petsche celebrates 50 years ordained a priest.
Fr. René professed vows on September 3, 1957, and was ordained by Bishop John P. Cody on September 21, 1961. His life of monastic labora began as associate editor of Altar and Home, Conception’s liturgical review for the laity (1961–63); during those years he also served as the abbey’s assistant Guestmaster. But his life in the Spirit had a decidedly pastoral inclination. He was soon assigned to assist at St. Joseph’s Church in Springfield MO (1963-64), and then at St. Aloysius in Kansas City MO (1964–67). In 1967 he became a military chaplain for the U.S. Army, serving there for 20 years. His army years took him to far-flung locales, including tours of duty in Vietnam, Thailand and Germany.
Below: Fr. Rene served as a US Army Chaplain in Vietnam. Fr. Rene gives First Communion to Scott J. Bailey from a makeshift altar (the hood of a jeep) in 1969. Sadly, three days later Scott was killed in an ambush at this very site.
Originally from Harlan, Iowa, Fr. Daniel learned the value of hard work growing up on a farm. He attended St. Michael’s Grade School in Harlan and went to high school at Conception Seminary High School and St. John’s Seminary in Elkhorn, Nebraska. He went on to join Conception Abbey and professed First Vows on September 1, 1962. He then went on to receive his Undergraduate and Theology degrees both from Conception Seminary College and was ordained to Holy Orders on the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15, 1967. On that day he began his golden tenure of fifty years of priestly service.
Above and Below: Fr. Daniel (left) still enjoys playing the accordion after all these years.