Fr. Paul Berens (1890-1958)

“Paul the Priest” as he styled himself, was born in Victoria, Kan., among the Capuchins but came to Atchison for an education in 1903.  He entered the Abbey July 2, 1909, finished his college studies at St. John’s, Collegeville, Minn., and began theology there but finished theological studies at Atchison. He was ordained December 15, 1915.  He became infirmarian of the College and teacher of German, Latin, and physiology.

In 1919 Father Paul began a pastoral career at Sts. Peter and Paul, Seneca, Kan., did parish work in Omaha, Effingham, Kelly, Valley Falls, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help hospital in Falls City, Neb., and at the Ursuline Convent in Paola.  In 1955 he returned to the Abbey where he walked the campus daily and played chess with whomsoever was interested.

Father Paul and Father Claude Enslein carried on a lively and very formal correspondence while both lived in the Abbey one floor apart.  They addressed letters very formally using a lovely but often illegible style of writing; the Palmer Method.  The letters were hand delivered by willing clerics.

Father Paul assisted the writer of this necrology in offering his first two masses May 30 and May 31, 1957, in a chapel that is now the room of Father Bertrand La Noue, OSB, which then served as a chapel.