The Monk

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.
Pater Franzi lives and works in the benedictine monastery of Kremsmünster. Born in 1980, he joined the order in 2006, when he was 26 years old. He also teaches religion at the monastery school.