Rev. Basil Michael Keenan, O.S.B.
March 6, 1940 – February 22, 2017
Profession of Vows: June 24, 1961
Ordination to Priesthood: May 27, 1967
Rev. Basil Michael Keenan, O.S.B., monk of St. Gregory’s Abbey, entered eternal life strengthened by the sacraments of the Church on Wednesday, February 22, 2017. He was 77 years of age, had been a monk for 55 years and priest for 49 years.
Fr. Basil was born on March 6, 1940. He was adopted as an infant along with his twin sister Patricia through Catholic Charities by Joseph and Helen (Doherty) Keenan. Raised in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral Parish in Oklahoma City, he attended John Carroll School, Catholic High School and graduated from St. Gregory’s High School in 1957. After two years of study as a National Merit Scholar at St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, KS, he entered the novitiate at St. Gregory’s Abbey in June 1960. He professed vows as a monk of St. Gregory’s Abbey on June 24, 1961.
After his profession of vows, Fr. Basil returned to St. Benedict’s College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Math in 1963, graduating summa cum laude. He completed theological studies at St. Gregory’s Abbey and was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1967. Following ordination, Fr. Basil pursued a Masters in Chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, completing the degree in 1969.
Fr. Basil served in both the educational and pastoral ministries of the Abbey. He served at various times between 1974 and 1990 as an instructor of math, chemistry and Spanish at St. Gregory’s College. Occasionally he fulfilled teaching responsibilities while residing away from the monastery on pastoral assignments. His pastoral assignments included: Associate Pastor, St. Benedict Parish, Montebello, CA (1968); Associate Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, East Los Angeles, CA (1971-1974); Pastor, St. Stephen Parish, Holdenville, OK (1976-1979); Associate Pastor, Assumption of Mary Parish, Duncan, OK, (1989); Pastor, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Coalgate, OK, with Our Lady of Good Counsel Mission in Lehigh, OK, and St. Patrick Mission, Atoka, OK (1990-1991); Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Tulsa, OK (1991-1992); Pastor, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Tulsa, OK (1992-1996); Pastoral Associate, St. Benedict Parish, Shawnee, OK and Immaculate Conception Parish, Seminole, OK (1996); Pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish, Seminole, OK, with St. Cecilia Mission, Maude, OK, and St. Joseph Mission, Wewoka, OK (1997-2012); Assisting Priest, St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Guymon, OK, with St. Francis Cabrini Mission, Bison, OK, and Church of the Good Shepherd Mission, Boise City, OK (2013); Administrator, St. Joseph Parish, Muskogee, OK (2015-2016); Administrator, St. Paul Parish, Eufala, OK (2016); and Pastoral Associate, St. Thomas More Parish, Tulsa, OK (2016).
Along with teaching and parochial assignments, Fr. Basil served the monastic community and the broader public in various other ways. He served in the monastery as sacristan, cantor, guest master and barber. In 1979, Fr. Basil was appointed to serve for three years on the Oklahoma Archdiocesan Commission for Hispanic Affairs, Inc. For several years Fr. Basil was also active with the Cursillo movement, assisting with both English and Spanish language cursillos. From 2010 to the time of his death, Fr. Basil served as a priest chaplain at John H. Lilley Correctional Center in Boley, OK, offering Mass and other sacraments to the inmates. Whenever he was in residence at the monastery, Fr. Basil was eager to provide weekend supply ministry in parishes across the State of Oklahoma.
Fr. Basil had a great love for Gregorian Chant, which he first learned to sing as a boy in the parish choir at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral. He strongly advocated retention of chant in the revision of the Divine Office at the Abbey following the Second Vatican Council. He similarly was passionate about languages, especially Latin and Spanish. He found great delight in making connections between the Romance Languages and their origins in Latin.
Although he was not comfortable in crowds, he was an effective teacher and homilist. He was devoted to the teaching of the Church on theological and moral issues, while at the same time guiding those in his care with compassion, especially immigrants in difficult circumstances and prisoners. He enjoyed conversation with confreres and friends, “corny” jokes, and the welcome he received from several families. Fr. Basil led a very frugal life, giving a strong witness to monastic simplicity.
Fr. Basil died unexpectedly on February 22, 2017, from a brief acute illness. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister Patricia Keenan Ingraham. He is survived by the monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey, and many former students, parishioners and friends.
Vigil for the Deceased was prayed in the Abbey Church on Sunday, February 26. Mass for Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, February 27, and interment followed in the Abbey Cemetery. In your charity, please pray for the peaceful repose of Fr. Basil, and for the monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey. Memorial gifts may be made to the St. Gregory’s Abbey Infirmary Fund, 1900 W. MacArthur, Shawnee, OK 74804.
Rev. Maurus (Paul) Jaeb, O.S.B., monk of St. Gregory’s Abbey, entered eternal life on Sunday, January 15, 2017. He was 75 years old, had been a professed monk for 58 years and a priest for 21 years.
Born on April 10, 1941, Paul Andrew Jaeb was the eldest of the four children of Allen and Helen (Mayerhofer) Jaeb of St. Michael, MN. After attending school in St. Michael, he came to Shawnee, OK, in 1955, to attend St. Gregory’s High School. He became a Postulant for St. Gregory’s Abbey on January 17, 1957, and a Novice on July 10, 1957, receiving the name Brother Maurus. He professed his first vows as a monk on July 11, 1958, Simple Perpetual Vows on April 30, 1962, and Solemn Vows on March 13, 1967.
Br. Maurus served in many roles at St. Gregory’s Abbey, High School and College. In the Abbey he served at various times as Sacristan, Associate Vocation Director, Business Manager, Guest Master, Sub-Prior, Development Director, on the Abbey Senior Council for several terms, and was the first Brother in the community to serve as Sub-Prior. In the late 1960s he served on the planning committee of the U.S. Religious Brothers Association. After ministering in external pastoral assignments he returned to the Abbey in July 2014, when he assumed duties as Abbey Oblate Director, coordinator of Mass intentions, and special confessor for the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of St. Joseph Carmel in Piedmont, OK.
At St. Gregory’s College, Br. Maurus served in the business office (1965 – 1973), as manager of the college bookstore (1973-1982), College Business Manager (1982 – 1984) and Alumni Secretary (1977-1984). In this role he founded and sponsored the “Student Alumni Council,” a select group of students that raised scholarship funds for their fellow students.
Br. Maurus took on a new challenge in 1984, when he joined the pastoral team at St. Benedict Parish, Montebello, CA, a large parish in the greater Los Angeles area staffed by monks from St. Gregory’s Abbey. He performed a number of roles in the parish, including as administrator for parish youth programs. In 1988 he was assigned as Pastoral Associate at St. Benedict Parish, Shawnee. Having found pastoral ministry very fulfilling, Br. Maurus discerned his vocation to ordained ministry. He entered St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston, MA, in the fall of 1991. He was ordained as Deacon on May 21, 1994, and as Priest on May 27, 1995.
After his ordination Fr. Maurus returned to St. Benedict Parish, Montebello, CA, as Associate Pastor. In June of 1999 he became Pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Shawnee, OK, remaining until 2008, when he returned to the Abbey to serve as Abbey Development Director. In June of 2010, Fr. Maurus became Pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Del City, OK, where he served faithfully until July of 2014,
Fr. Maurus was always grateful for his vocation as a Benedictine monk of St. Gregory’s Abbey and the opportunities it gave him to develop his talents and to be of service to others, often using his strong organizational and managerial skills. He was devoted to prayer and the celebration of Mass. He found great joy and encouragement in the many friendships he formed throughout his life. He particularly enjoyed the blessing of a good meal shared with his friends. He is survived by the monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey, his brother John Jaeb and sister-in-law Patti, his sisters, Sr. Helen Jane Jaeb, S.S.N.D., and Christine and brother-in-law Stephen, his extended family, former parishioners and countless friends.
Visitation at St. Gregory’s Abbey continues each day between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. until his funeral. Vigil for the deceased will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 19, at St. Gregory’s Abbey Church. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January 20, at St. Gregory’s Abbey Church with interment following in the Abbey Cemetery.
The monastic community is grateful to the Abbey Health Care Staff for the attentive care they gave to Fr. Maurus. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the St. Gregory’s Abbey Infirmary Fund, 1900 W. MacArthur, Shawnee, OK 74804.
Rev. Maurus P. Jaeb, O.S.B.
Sunday morning our Fr. Maurus (Paul) Jaeb went to his eternal reward. He was 75 years old, 58 years a professed member of our community and 21 years a priest.
The vigil for Fr. Maurus will be celebrated on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. with the funeral to be celebrated on the following morning at 10:30.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts be made to the Abbey Health Care fund.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.
Published: August 18, 2016
The Rev. Boniface Copelin from St. Gregory's Monastery raises chickens and sells eggs.
©2016 The Oklahoman