Thoughts of Father Franzi
I was the second born of triplets and grew up in Bad Hall, Upper Austria. After primary and secondary school I studied cultural and congress management at the vocational school in Steyr. I matriculated in 1999, then I did community service before my studies in theology in Linz. Only thereafter, in 2006, I joined the Benedictine Order in Kremsmünster monastery.
In my youth I came closer to the belief in God, which my family lived in a more traditional way, so not really intensively, and realized that I am a valuable just like I am. This experience is very important to me in my life as a monk but also in my activities as a religion teacher at the convent school and as a chaplain. As the concierge of the monastery, I attend to the visitors who stay in our ten guest rooms, and I also officiate masses, weddings, and baptisms. I want to give people the feeling that they are lovable just like they are.
I became a Benedictine monk because “home” is very important to me. We Benedictines have our home in a concrete monastery, but in God I also experience something like comfort and acceptance. I always wanted to know who I am and where I belong, to a certain extent I have found an answer now. In the end it is not so easy to name the reasons, I just felt that this is my path, which – as an old Brother once said – I sometimes lament but never regret.
If I hadn’t become a monk I would spend three months per year in Cuba, or I would have become a crooner on a cruise ship, but my singing talent is quite rudimentary… So I probably would have signed up as a religion teacher or as a professional paramedic. I also find gastronomy quite interesting!
In the everyday life at the monastery I enjoy the principal orientation toward God, in the sense that I live with God and have time for prayer and meditation. Contrary to common opinion, I’m very free with my time and work planning. I cannot imagine sitting at the same desk Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. I like the various realms of my tasks and also the community, which in real life is often not as tight as most people might expect, but it carries you to a certain degree. Furthermore, I like our monastery for its architecture and aura.
What I don’t like so much – but this would also apply to most other professions – is getting up early in the morning, and that in conversations I automatically have to justify incidents in the Church, like cases of abuse or things I cannot change, such as the admission requirements for priesthood.
My favorite place in the monastery is my room, and there is my bed. Otherwise, I also like the chapter room, this mystical room where we pray. And the school where I teach. A tailor from Viechtwang made my habit. My tunicles were made partly by Sisters in Steinerkirchen, others I ordered at a low price in Rome at Barbiconi. I recently bought the priest shirts in Rome, too. When I look at my wardrobe I notice that my clothing used to be much more colorful and in the meanwhile I only have rather few things to wear – but that’s fine by me.