Brother Frederick Steinbach, MM

Born: May 26, 1910
Oath: September 29, 1938
Died: February 13, 1991

Brother Frederick Steinbach died at St. Teresa’s on February 13, 1991. He was in his 81st year and a Brother for over 53 years.

Charles Herman Steinbach was born on May 26, 1910 in Chariton, Iowa, son of Herman Steinbach and Anna Metz. He had 9 brothers and sisters, one of whom is Fr. Leo Steinbach. After attending Chariton Junior College for a year he transferred to Columbia (later called Loras) College and graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy.

In his autobiography he wrote that the idea of being a farmer was uppermost in his mind in those early years but, under the influence of his mother and reading the Field Afar thoughts of becoming a missioner slowly grew stronger. He first entered Maryknoll as a student for the priesthood in 1933 and finished two years of theological studies. He was a good student, very serious in appearance but in community recreation always sociable and generous. He dropped out of the seminary in 1936.

Charles worked for a year and a half and then joined Maryknoll a second time in Los Angeles, as a Brother candidate. Here he found his life and happiness for the next 53 years. In 1938 Fred was assigned to Mountain View where he helped landscape and maintain the seminary grounds. He was transferred to the Center for a short time and then to manage the farm at the Venard. There he remained until 1968. During these years his superiors spoke well of him. A constant theme was such virtues as dependability, exemplary religious practice runs through their observations. Among various comments: “a fine Brother, a good religious, reliable, steady and good in every way.. .a marvelous worker and knows farming inside out…very thorough and neat in the efficient operation of the farm.”

In 1968 he was sent to Glen Ellyn and served there until it was closed 3 years later. Again assigned to the Center he worked on the grounds. On the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1981 the Superior General wrote “I take this opportunity, in the name of all of your fellow Maryknollers, to very seriously express our gratitude for the example you have provided us and for all who have had the good fortune of being in contact with you over these many years of your apostolate.”

At St. Teresa’s Fred suffered much but enjoyed doing things his way. On days when he felt pretty well he would pick up a sickle and chop down the weeds around the building. Such a Brother’s contribution has always been beneficial to the Church, to Maryknoll and the missions.

Although assigned to St. Teresa’s in 1973 Fred did not join the Special Society Unit and resided in the Seminary building until the last few months.

Wake services were held at both St. Teresa’s and the Center on Feb. 14th, conducted by Bro. Wayne Fitzpatrick. Mass of burial the next day had Fr. Kenneth Thesing as principal celebrant and seminarian John Barth as homilist. Burial was in the Maryknoll cemetery.