Father Bonaventure Oberst, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1881-1948)

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Born Paul J. Oberst in Owensboro, Kentucky on October 14, 1881 he learned of the Passionists through a boyhood friend Charles Kendrick, later Father Stephen Kendrick, while attending Christian Brothers College, St. Louis. In 1900 they entered the Passionist novitiate in Pittsburgh. He took his vows on August 15, 1901 and received the name Bonaventure. He was ordained on May 29, 1907. His first assignment was Lector and Spiritual Director of Students for approximately eight years. Father Oberst was then elected Rector of St. Paul, Kansas and then Rector of Chicago from 1914 to 1920. He then served as Vicar until 1923 when he was chosen as Second Consultor. In 1926 he joined the Passionist mission to Germany and served there until 1931 when he went to Rome to attend the Passionist General Chapter. At that time he was elected the first General Consultor. Six years later he was chosen as Second General Consultor which he held until the Chapter of 1947. At that time he was assigned to the Passionist foundation at Bethany, Palestine. He was there at the outbreak of the 1948 War. As a United States citizen he was forced to leave and he was in the United States when he died. Father Oberst was a tall man and considered to be a disciplinarian and often lived a life of restriction that he asked others to live as well. He did not adapt well to new ideologies or changes in Passionist life. He was no friend to innovation. At the same time he was kind and understanding as a superior. He was direct in action and in relationships. He was a man who loved learning as well.