Kindness characterized Divine Word brother's ways

Brother Gerald (Cyril) Schroeder, 1913-2014

Schroeder,_Cyril_09Divine Word Brother Gerald (Cyril) Schroeder, Techny’s longest continual resident, passed away on April 15 at age 101. Brother Cyril, who professed vows in 1933, lived most of his adult life at Techny.

His parents came from the Midwest, but he was born when his mother was visiting her sister in Viscount, Saskatchewan, Canada. The son of Irene Schroeder and Roman Fischer, Gerald Albert Schroeder spent most of his youth in Wisconsin.

In 1927 after completing his freshman year at Jefferson High School in Jefferson, Wis., he entered the Brother Candidates School at Techny, Ill.

In later years, he fondly recalled the days when hundreds of priests, brothers and students lived at Techny, then known as St. Mary’s Seminary. In the summertime, they’d play tennis on the grounds. Occasionally, they would gather a group for baseball.

He began working in the print shop at Mission Press at Techny when he was 15 years old. He worked in the Composing Room as a linotype operator. During those years, he helped to produce Christian Family magazine, Little Missionary magazine, almanacs, calendars and other publications. After a quarter of a century as a typesetter, he suffered from lead poisoning having been exposed to the print shop’s hot lead fumes for so many years. However, health issues did not stop him. He learned a new trade.

For the next two decades, Brother Cyril served as a tailor. He sewed garments for members of Divine Word communities in Epworth, Iowa; Lake Gogebic, Mich.; and Techny. In 1971, he traded his sewing machine for a telephone, working as the Techny community’s switchboard operator and receptionist.

"Brother Cyril effortlessly welcomed visitors to the Techny Residence with a smile and a kind word," said Father Quang Duc Dinh, SVD, rector of the Divine Word Residence at Techny. "During the latter part of his life, he had difficulty hearing, yet he joyfully participated in liturgical and social events at Techny."

Brother Cyril lived at Techny from 1927 to 1953 and then returned to stay in 1956. He is survived by many cousins and his fellow Divine Word Missionaries.

Visitation for Brother Cyril was held on April 21, at the Divine Word Residence Chapel at Techny, followed by his wake that evening. His funeral Mass was at the chapel on April 22, followed by burial at St. Mary Cemetery at Techny.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for the care of retired missionaries may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Road, P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.

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