Father Keefe remembered as gifted spiritual director

| March 24, 2015 | 0 Comments
Father Gerald Keefe

Father Gerald Keefe

Father Gerald Keefe, who died March 19 at the age of 93, is being remembered as a kind and humble priest, pastor and spiritual director.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated March 25 at Holy Trinity Church in Winsted by Archbishop John Nienstedt.

“His kindness and humility radiated from him wherever he went,” remembered Father Eugene Pouliot, a retired priest of the archdiocese.

“He was a priest’s priest,” added Father Kenneth Pierre, who recalled that he was a schoolboy at St. Andrew School in St. Paul when he first saw Father Keefe. “He was an assistant pastor at St. Mark [in St. Paul, his first priestly assignment] then, and he would attend all their sports games.”

Born Jan. 28, 1922, in Minneapolis to Daniel and Mary (Heiling) Keefe, Gerry Keefe attended Nazareth Hall and the St. Paul Seminary before being ordained in 1947.

While still serving at St. Mark, Father Keefe did what Father Pierre called “his flagship work” as spiritual director at the St. Paul Seminary in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In 1963 he was named the founding pastor of St. William in Fridley. He also served briefly at St. Olaf in Minneapolis and St. Joseph the Worker in Maple Grove.

He joined Father Gerard Rowan as co-pastor of St. Rita in Cottage Grove, where, from 1980 to 1987, the quieter Father Keefe was lovingly referred to as “Mr. Inside” to Father Rowan’s “Mr. Outside,” a reflection of how the two priests divided ministry responsibilities in a way that fit their personalities.

He later was pastor of St. Mary of the Lake, Plymouth, and St. Bernard, Cologne. In retirement he assisted at St. Joseph in Hopkins (now St. Gabriel Archangel).

“He was an inspiration to me as a priest,” Father Pierre said. “He was an original spiritual thinker.”

Father Keefewas preceded in death by his parents; brothers Gervais, Jerome and Daniel Keefe; and sisters Mary Stifter and Dorothy Fasching. He is survived by his sister Evelyn Sexton of Weskan, Kan.; sister-in-law Angie Keefe of St. Paul, and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.

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Category: Obituaries