Fr. Paul Zahler O.S.B.
Father Paul was born and raised in St. Michael, MN a strongly German Catholic town west of Minneapolis not unlike the “Lake Wobegon” of famed writer Garrison Keilor. He made monastic profession of vows on August 15, 1956, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 1962. Fr. Paul attended St. Gregory's High School and College, St. Procopius College in Lisle, IL, and completed his theological studies at St. Gregory's Abbey.
After ordination to the priesthood, Fr. Paul earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma. Fr. Paul's name is most closely associated with his tireless work for children and adults with development delays and differences. He has dedicated more than 50 years of his life to this ministry, working closely with international experts in this field. He developed scientific programs for children with developmental delays in Mexico and India and has trained many professionals in Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica. Fr. Paul has founded and continues to oversee several organizations to support this unique ministry to the most vulnerable members of our society, including the Home Integration Child Development Center and Supported Living Agency, Camp Benedictine, the National Institute on Developmental Delays and a Community Based and Faith Based Total Family Development Program. His study visits of 40 countries, international research and direct ministry has been compiled in several articles and a recently published book: The Experience Quotient and Human Development. He continues to organize and lead weekend camps on a monthly basis for adults and children with development differences and a more extended week-long camp during the summer. Fr. Paul has been a teaching member of the faculty of St. Gregory's College and University for five decades, offering courses in the field of psychology and child development. He served for many years as associate coach for the St. Gregory's College women's basketball program, including for the team that ended its season as No. 2 in the nation in the mid-1980's. He was also involved in starting up interest in soccer at St. Gregory's, in the Shawnee community and statewide in the 1970's. In fact, he is known as the "Godfather of Soccer" in Oklahoma. Fr. Paul was inducted into the St. Gregory's Sports Hall of fame in 2008.