This testimonial of sincere and filial affection is presented as a token of great gratitude and deep respect to His Eminence, the Most Reverend
ALOISIUS JOSEPH MUENCH
Apostolic Nuncio of Germany, on the occasion of his elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals by the Abbess M. Augustina Weihermüller O.S.B. and her Community of St. Walburga’s Abbey Eichstätt, Bavaria.
Eichstätt on the feast of St. Aloisius June 21, 1960
Aloisius Joseph Cardinal Muench was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 18 February 1889, the oldest of eight children. His father, Joseph, was born at St. Katharina in the Bohemian Forest on 19 March 1864. His mother Theresa was born in Stadt Kemnath, the Upper Palatinate, Diocese of Regensburg, on 13 December 1868.
1901 First Holy
1913 Ordination to
the Holy Priesthood
He graduated from the St. Boniface parish school, Milwaukee, in 1903, and began to take Latin lessons from Father Henry Niehaus, the saintly chaplain of the Notre Dame Sisters at their Motherhouse. He made his classical, philosophical, and theological studies in the Seminary of St. Francis de Sales, St. Francis, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 1904 to 1913. He was ordained a priest on 8 June 1913 by Archbishop Sebastian Messmer.
Father Muench began his priestly work as an assistant to Father Sebastian Bernard at St. Michael’s Parish, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he remained from 1913 to 1917. From 1917 to 1919 he was chaplain at St. Paul’s Chapel at the University of Wisconsin, and chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital, both in Madison, Wisconsin.
He received his Master of Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin in 1919, after completing his studies in economics and sociology.
Begin of advanced
He received his degree, Doctor of Social Sciences, summa cum laude, at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1921. In the following year he audited special courses at a number of Europe’s leading Catholic and secular universities, including the Universities of Louvain, Belgium; Sorbonne, Institut Catholique, College de France, Paris; Oxford, Cambridge, and London in England.
During these years in Europe Cardinal Muench visited important social centers in Austria, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, England, Holland, Czechoslovakia, and especially in Germany. In the course of his stay in Europe he helped organize charities for war-stricken people.
In the fall of 1922 he was appointed to the faculty of St. Francis de Sales Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; first serving as professor of dogmatic theology and the social sciences, and later as dean of the theological department. From 1929 to 1935 he was Rector of St. Francis Seminary. Pope Pius XI named him a Domestic Prelate on 21 September 1934.
He was named third Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota, by Pope Pius XI, on 10 August 1935, succeeding the late Bishop James O’Reilly. He was consecrated a Bishop in the Church of Gesu, Milwaukee, on 15 October 1935, by Archbishop—now Cardinal—Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, at the time Apostolic Delegate to the United States. He was installed in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo, on 6 November 1935.
Beginning in 1936, Bishop Muench issued Lenten pastorals to the priests and people of his diocese on various subjects of Church life and discipline, including the conditions for true peace, charity, marriage, family life, the priesthood, and the lay apostolate. Even after going to Germany Cardinal Muench maintained close ties with local problems in his Fargo Diocese. He contributed to the diocesan newspaper, Catholic Action News, monthly articles about his work in Germany as well as about current problems in the United States.
Cardinal Muench is past president of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference; former member of the Pontifical Commission of the Catholic University of America, of the Bishops’ Peace Commission, and of the Administrative Board of the National Catholic Welfare Conference; a charter member of the Pax Romana for the promotion of peace; a member of the Social Action Committee of the Catholic Central Union (Verein) of America.
His Eminence is Spiritual Director of the Apostolate of Suffering, a Pious Union of the Sick, which he founded in 1926 in Milwaukee, with Miss Clara Tiry, who is president and executive secretary.
As Bishop he had the joy of consecrating five Bishops: two Americans, Msgr. Vincent J. Ryan, as Bishop of Bismarck, North Dakota, and Msgr. William T. Mulloy as Bishop of Covington, Kentucky; two Germans, Msgr. Bydolek as Auxiliary to the Bishop of Hildesheim, and Msgr. Mathias Wehr of Trevs; one Italian, Msgr. Opilio Rossi, his Counsellor at the Nuntiature, Apostolic Nuncio first of Ecuador and now of Chile.
In 1922 he assisted in the postwar reorganization of the International Association of Labor Legislation at Basle, Switzerland.
Visitator for Germany
1949 Regent of the
1951 Nuntio to all
1946 - 1951
On 8 July 1946 he was named Apostolic Visitator for Germany, and Head of the Pontifical Mission in Germany for refugees, expellees, and displaced persons, as well as Liaison Officer between the United States Military Government and the Catholic Church in Germany, and Military Vicar Delegate for Catholics in the U.S. Armed Forces.
He consistently urged action in regard to the problems of relief and rehabilitation both of the German nationals, displaced persons and the large number of expellees and refugees fleeing from countries behind the Iron Curtain. He also encouraged Catholic rural life activities, and by his presence and advice encouraged and aided in the spiritual development of postwar Germany.
On 21 October 1949 he was named Regent of the Apostolic Nunciature in Germany. He received the personal title of Archbishop on 28 October 1950.
At the time of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Germany in 1951 Cardinal Muench was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to all Germany on 9 March 1951, and accredited to the German Federal Republic on 4 April 1951. By this appointment he became Dean of the Diplomatic Corps represented at the West German Federal Republic in Bonn. The same year he opened the headquarters of the Apostolic Nunciature at Bad Godesberg. He was the first native-born American to serve as a Papal Nuncio.
1951 - 1959
As Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, blending the careers of statesman and churchman, he delivered annually the address at the New Year’s reception given to the President of the West German Republic by the members of the Diplomatic Corps. The tact and prudence which he displayed as well as the sage advice that he offered during the difficult period of reestablishing diplomatic relations between the German Republic and the other sovereign States was of inestimable value to the newly appointed Ambassadors.
In view of his signal services as Dean as well as in recognition of the countless benefactions shown the German people as a whole, President Theodor Heuss bestowed on him the West German Republic Grand Cross of Merit (Das Großkreuz des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) on 10 December 1957. It was a rare exception for the Cardinal to receive this distinction already two years before he terminated his work as Nuncio to Germany.
As the Holy Father’s representative to the Catholic Church in Germany His Eminence, Cardinal Muench, was no less concerned about the religious welfare of all Catholics.
As evidence of this he gave a great deal of his time and effort to take an active part in all the major religious functions and events that took place. He took part in each of the six “Katholikentage” that were held while he was Nuncio. He was a frequent and welcome dignitary at important jubilees, anniversaries, conventions of youth, rural life, workers, women, and so on. In this manner he visited, often repeatedly, every part of Germany.
With exemplary devotion and inner feeling he participated in the public veneration of the Sacred Relics of Our Lord and of Our Blessed Lady at the Cathedral of Aachen in the summer of 1958. The following year, 1959, he was present at Trier for the impressive Pilgrimage to the Holy Robe of Our Lord, preserved in this ancient Roman city since the days of St. Helena according to reliable tradition. The famous Shrines in Germany had the honor of a visit from the Nuncio at least once during his tenure of office.
Constantly he advised and aided the Bishops of Germany in making the Catholic religion a living realyty for all Catholics, as well as vital factor in the country of Germany as a whole.
While Cardinal Muench was Nuncio to Germany he was instrumental in selecting new Ordinaries for all but five of the twenty-two dioceses of Germany. Three dioceses, Berlin, Limburg and Osnabrück, received each two Ordinaries, while the Diocese of Freiburg received three. Seeing the need for a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the heavily populated Ruhr area, he succeeded, after long preparations and many negotiations with the Federal and with the North Rhine-Westphalia Governments, in establishing the new Diocese of Essen. Personally, he undertook the canonical erection of this Diocese and also installed the first Bishop, Franz Hengsbach, on 1 January 1958.
Always quick to see and to understand the conditions of the refugees and the expellees, he suggested to the Holy See the great benefit of having an Apostolic Exarchy for Ukranian Catholics in Germany. Realizing this need, the Holy Father empowered Cardinal Muench to establish the Apostolic Exarchy in Munich and to install the first Exarch, His Excellency Platon Korniljak on 20 September 1959.
Keenly aware of his duty to represent the Holy Father among the Catholics of Soviet-controlled East Germany as well as Free West Germany, he made repeated trips to Berlin to learn at first hand the conditions in East Germany. On two occasions he made extensive trips into the Soviet Zone. The first time in 1954, accompanied by the late Bishop Weskamm of Berlin, Cardinal Muench traveled to Erfurt for the 1200th anniversary of the death of Saint Boniface. Again in 1957, along with Bishop, now Cardinal, Julius Döpfner of Berlin, he revisited Erfurt to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the death of Saint Elizabeth. On the way he traveled as far as the Oder-Neiße river, the present German-Polish border.
Each of these trips to the Soviet Zone served to prove to Cardinal Muench the staunch faith and the loyal and filial adherence to the Holy See of the Catholics in this land oppressed by communist domination. He returned each time more determined to support in every way possible, by means spiritual and charitable, the Bishops, the priests, the religious, and the lay people in the Soviet Zone of Germany.
Cardinal Muench received innumerable signs both in Germany and in the United States of the recognition of his work as Apostolic Nuncio to Germany. Among others, he received an honorary Doctorate of Theology from the University of Muenster, Westphalia, in 1948; and honorary Doctorates of Law from the Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 22 October 1951, and from the College of Saint Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota, on 5 June 1959.
Christus vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!
Beatissimo Papæ nostro Joanni, Pastori in Deo dilecto, summo et universali Papæ: Pacis augusto propugnatori: Almi Spiritus Solamen, de fidelitate gregis suæ jugis lætitia, pax et Concordia!
Salvator mundi, Tu illum adjuva!
Eminentissimo et Illustrissimo Dmno.Dmno Aloisio Josepho, Cardinali Ecclesiae: Fidei intrepid fortitudine defensori: Patri pauperum profugorumque: Magno benefactor Germaniæ: Divinum auxilium, spiritualium fructuum abundantia, salus et vita, tranquillitas pacis, nostra gratiarum actio, caritas nostra!
Salvator mundi, Tuillum adjuva!
S. Maria sine labe concept,
Sancte Francise Salesi,
Te Pastorem: Deus elegit.
Populo christiano: Te conservet!
Annos vitæ: Deus multplicet!
Feliciter! Feliciter! Feliciter!
Familiæ Benedictinæ ad Sanctam Walburgam et omnibus sub regula Sanctissimi Patris nostril Benedicti militanibus: Augmentum ac splendorem monastici ordinis, Pax et bonum.
Salvator mundi, Tu illos adjuva!
Sancte Patre Benedicte,
Christus vincit, . . .
Ipsi soli Gloria et potestas! Per imortalia sæula sæculoru. Amen.
Ipsi soli laus et jubilatio! Per infinita sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Ipsi soli virtus et Victoria! Per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Tempora bona habeatis! Tempora bona habeatis!
Tempora bona habeatis! Multos annos! Multos annos!
After such a life of whole-hearted dedication to his duties as Apostolic Nuncio, it was no surprise when on 16 November 1959 the news of his elevation to the Cardinalate was announced. On 14 December at the Secret Consistory His Holiness, Pope John XXIII, officially named him a member of the Sacred College of Cardinals. He received the Cardinal’s biretta at the Semi-public Consistory on 16 December; and on the following day, 17 December, the Holy Father conferred on him the Red Hat at the Public Consistory held in the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. On 20 December Cardinal Muench took possession of his title church of San Bernardo alle Terme, situated in the heart of Rome.
His Eminence, Aloisius Cardinal Muench, is the first American Cardinal to be engaged actively in the work of the Roman Curia. He was appointed a member of three Sacred Congregations, of Rites, of the Affairs of Religious, and of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs.
where the memorial-book
has been made by
M.A.Amata Hermannspan O.S.B.
M.A.Monika Nähbauer O.S.B.
M.A.Dorothea Brockmann O.S.B.
M.A.Walburga V. Bechtolsheim O.S.B.
Cardinal Muench died in Rome on Febraury 15, 1962. He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetary, Fargo, North Dakota. His galero is on display at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo.
This web page presents the content of an unpublished hand-lettered, hand-illustrated and hand-bound biography of Aloisius Cardinal Muench. It was made by the Benedictine Nuns of St. Walburga’s Abbey, Eichstätt, Germany, and given to Cardinal Muench on June 21, 1960. Factual, grammatical and typographical errors have not been corrected.
The volume is twelve folios containing text, 11 photographs, 3 illustrations and an illustrated “Christus vincit!” spanning 2 pages. In the original manuscript each of the large initial capital letters were decorated. All the pictures shown here are original to this book; unfortunately, some have deteriorated over time, especially the two sketches of his former residences. The music notation for the “Christus vincit!” has been omitted.