Sunday, December 7, 2014

R.I.P. Fr. Victor Kingery, O.F.M.

A Remembrance

R.I.P. Fr. Victor Kingery, O.F.M.

I first met Fr. Victor in 1961 when he was Fr. Peter. When the friars were invested with the habit, they were given a new name to signal that they were to "put on the new man." However, when Vatican II entered our perspective, the baptismal call to holiness became a more potent image and friars began to return to the use of their baptismal names. Thus Fr. Peter became Fr. Victor.

Fr. Victor was the librarian at the minor seminary in Westmont, Illinois. The high school library was one of the "warmest" rooms in that institution. I found myself spending lots of time there and was eventually approached by Fr. Victor and asked if I would like to learn how to "repair" books. He took me downstairs and taught me how to fix broken spines, restore pages that had fallen out, strengthen loose covers, etc. I took to the various skills quite naturally and spent my four years of high school repairing any books that crossed my desk. The desk librarians had been instructed to check any book that was returned for such issues, so there was always plenty to do.

Whenever I saw Fr. Victor in later years, we would inevitably reminisce about my high school days. He was delighted to learn that I had continued to ply this trade throughout my seminary days, working in the book bindery at O.L.A., and even working in the library at Catholic Theological Union repairing the many books of that library. Though library glue was by then a staple of my life, our common love of books became the glue of my relationship with Fr. Victor. 

I will always remember this gentle, holy friar as an important part of my formative years and I shall miss him.. May the angels welcome him to paradise!

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.
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