Reverend Ambrose (Bernard) Hessling, O.S.B., monk and priest of St. Bede Abbey in Peru, IL., died Saturday evening, December 31. He was 85.
He was born January 2, 1931, the son of Edmund and Clara Hessling, Peoria Illinois, where he attended St. Joseph’s School and Spalding Institute. He then entered St. Bede Junior College, entering the abbey in 1950. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1957, at which time he was put in charge of the abbey’s print shop for a period of nine years. From 1966 until 2010 Fr. Ambrose was in charge of the abbey powerhouse and grounds crew. For many years he was also active in ministering to divorced and widowed Catholics through the Benedictine Religious Education Center. He served several terms on the abbey’s senior council, as well as playing the organ for abbey church services.
He is survived by one sister, Suzanne (Mike) Fleissner of Madisonville TN, and three nieces: Denise Barto of Reston, VA; Yvonne (Tim) Sippy of Cedar Rapids, IA; and Janine (Steve) Terrell of Peoria, IL.
His body will be received at the St. Bede Abbey Church on Tuesday, January 3 at 4:00 p.m., and visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. with a prayer vigil at 5:15 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday at 10:30 AM at the church, with the Rt. Reverend Philip Davey, OSB presiding. Interment will be in the abbey cemetery. Ptak Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Memorial gifts may be directed to Saint Bede Abbey.