Paul Philip Schafer (Brother Henry)

Paul Schafer was born June 30, 1936, of Henry and Alice Schafer (Blackmur) in Pewamo, Michigan. He was the firstborn of five children and grew up on a farm in this rural town.

His chores on the farm involved starting the fire early in the morning, milking the cow in the barn (which had no electricity), cleaning the chicken coop, make the slop, clean the pigs, feed the chickens, and cut firewood. His family grew corn, wheat, barley and oats and they sold the cream from the cow in order to buy groceries. Paul remembered the day when they got a tractor which had metal wheels.

When Paul was 14 years old, he had a tragic accident on the farm while cutting wood, losing three of his fingers. His father remarked that he would not be able to become a priest with missing fingers.

Paul graduated high school in 1954 and entered the Franciscans in Chasca, Ohio. He took the name Brother Augustine.  In 1960 he left the Franciscans and returned to Michigan. He worked at St Joseph’s parish church for several years as caretaker and helper to the parish priest.

In 1965, Paul moved from Michigan to New York City, making the drive in his first edition Studebaker Hawk. He resided in New York City until 1990 during which time he saw the Twin Towers being built. Paul worked in a couple of different restaurants in the city. While in New York, he had a seven-room apartment in the Bronx and often hosted seminarians and priests traveling through the Big Apple. He collected many Catholic books from used bookstores and gave boxes of books to St Thomas Aquinas seminary in Ridgefield Connecticut.

Through these years Paul remained devout and recognized the problems developing in the Church. He lamented and would tear up a bit remembering occasions when he found the Holy Eucharist on the floor and even received a host from the floor. He stayed as close as possible to the Latin Mass.

In 1990, Paul drove from New York City to Winona, Minnesota and entered the brothers’ novitiate. He received the name Henry Mary in his profession.

Brother Henry resided in Winona until 1994. He spent one year in El Paso from ‘94 to ‘95. After that he was sent to Browerville from ‘95 to ‘97. He went to Florida in ’97 and was caretaker for Fr. Carl Pulvermacher until he died in 2006. After that Br Henry went to Los Gatos from 2006 to 2009, then to British Columbia Canada from 2009 to 2012, and lastly this final assignment in Dickinson Texas from 2012 to present. In his assignments he served as cook, sacristan, and caretaker.

Br. Henry received Extreme Unction about three weeks before death and his last Holy Viaticum was August 4, First Friday, feast of St Dominic. He died in his bedroom at Queen of Angels Priory at 10.15am Sunday August 13.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

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