Father Bertrand (Elric) LaNoue, O.S.B., a monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison, Kan., died unexpectedly on November 16, 2013, at the Abbey. Father Bertrand was born on October 18, 1927, in Aurora, Kan., the son of Napolean and Bertha (Murphy) LaNoue.
On July 10, 1945, Elric LaNoue entered the novitiate of St. Benedict’s Abbey, receiving the religious name Bertrand. Following his novitiate he professed vows on July 11, 1946. He completed his BA degree in philosophy and mathematics in May 1949 and in July of the same year he professed his solemn vows as a monk. He then studied for the priesthood at the Abbey, being ordained a deacon on December 22, 1951, and ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1952.
A few days after our late Father Eugene died in September 2004, this container Father Eugene had kept in the top drawer of his dresser here at the Abbey was brought to me.
I knew what was inside as Father Eugene had shared with me the story of the box’s contents, though I had never actually seen what was inside.
In the box was a well-worn baseball.
In 1927, when Fr. Eugene was 13 years old, he was with his Boy Scout troop, Troop 13 from Burlington, Iowa, which came on a field trip to visit the Abbey here in Atchison.
They traveled in the backs of trucks – obviously before the days of seatbelt laws – camping out along the way, making one of their stops in St. Louis to take in a baseball game at the old Sportsman’s Park between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Browns.