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Father Cosmas Dahlheimer, OSB



Feb 21, 2004

Funeral services for Father Cosmas Dahlheimer, OSB will be at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 24, in Saint John's Abbey Church with interment later in the abbey cemetery.

A prayer service will be held on Monday, February 23, at 7 p.m. in the Abbey Church.

Born in St. Michael, Minn., to Valentine and Mary Magdalen (Gerber), Raymond grew up in a household of native Minnesotans for whom German was still used frequently at home. He attended elementary schools in St. Michael and St. Cloud until 1923 when he enrolled in the Saint John's Preparatory School. Six years later he entered the monastery and after theological studies, was ordained a priest in 1936.

He was scheduled to begin teaching in the Prep School in the fall of 1936, but at the request of the Abbot of Saint Peter's Abbey, Saskatchewan, Canada, his superior sent Father Cosmas to teach there for several years. On his return to Saint John's he taught classical languages in the college and served as a residence director.

At the outbreak of World War II, Father Cosmas volunteered to become a chaplain in the Army Air Corps. His time was divided about equally between States-side service and in overseas duty in the India-Burma theater. In 1943 he was promoted to captain.

Following his separation from the US Army in early 1946, he studied classical languages at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Returning to Saint John's in 1947 with a masters' degree, he was again surprised by the superior's decision: his principal new activity would be as Master of Novices, responsible for the initial training of potential monks. Father Cosmas also taught a variety of courses in Greek or Latin for almost 30 years. When the requirement for seminarians to study Greek and Latin was waived in the early 1960s, Father Cosmas was given various assignments away from the abbey, including being Prior of Saint Maur's Priory in Kentucky for one year.

From the mid-1960s until 1988, Father Cosmas served as chaplain to Saint Benedict's Monastery and College; as associate pastor of Saint Augustine's Church, Saint Cloud; again at Saint Bernard's Church, Saint Paul; and Saint Joseph's Church, Saint Joseph. During his time as chaplain of Saint Scholastica Convent in Saint Cloud, he developed health problems that necessitated his retirement at the abbey.

The final years of his life were clouded by the advance of Alzheimer's disease and persistent allegations, which he denied, of the sexual abuse of minors many years before. He was unaware of the penalties imposed upon him by the US bishops in June 2002. Father Cosmas was the last to die in his family that included two brothers and two sisters.