Fr. Venard Helget (1913-2000)


Father Venard was a gifted pianist if not a genius at the keyboard.  He earned a Masters in Music at Columbia University. In addition he studied at Julliard and The Pius X School of Music in New York, N.Y., as well.  He was also as gifted on the handball court.  He could type 100 words a minute.

Alphonse Helget came to St. Benedict’s High School after two years of education at Sacred Heart Academy, Manhattan, Kan.  He entered the abbey and made vows June 13, 1935, and was ordained May 18, 1940.  He did his theological studies at the abbey after earning a Bachelor’s in Music from St. Benedict’s College.  He was department chair until 1957.

Father Venard began a career as a hospital chaplain in 1959 and later served in various parishes and convents.  He was at Lillis High School 1963-64, Waunakee, Wisc., for two years and was pastor Kelly, Kan., for a while.  There were other assignments more of a short-term substitution variety.  Though so talented in so many matters, pastoring was a special challenge to him.  Some of the pain he bore surfaced in eccentricities that became legend.  Yet he was more than just tolerated by his brothers in the community.

He died on January 14, 2000 at the age of 87.