Abbot Alexius Edelbrock, O.S.B.

Abbot, Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota (1875-1889)
President of the American Cassinese Congregation

Anton Edelbrock was born in Westphalia in 1843. The family emigrated to the United States in 1850, first to Evansville. In 1854 they were the first German settlers to come to St. Cloud, Minnesota. In 1857 Edelbrock was one of the first five students at the preparatory school (Saint John’s Preparatory School) of the recently founded monastery of Saint John’s (then called Saint Louis on the Lake ) in what is now Collegeville. He completed his novitiate at Saint Vincent in Latrobe and took his vows in 1864. Returning to Saint John’s shortly after completing his theological studies, he made his solemn profession there and was ordained a priest in 1867. He then worked for several years as a teacher and rector of the school connected to the monastery (since 1863, Saint John’s University ) until Abbot Rupert Seidenbusch appointed him prior in March 1875.

When Rupert Seidenbusch was appointed Vicar Apostolic of North Minnesota in 1875, the monks elected the prior of Saint Vincent, Innocent Wolf , as the new abbot. Bonifaz Wimmer , who did not want to give up ‘his’ prior, did not agree with the choice , he appointed Edelbrock as abbot instead. Despite the ensuing protests, the appointment was confirmed by the Propaganda Congregation in Rome—albeit with reservations—and Edelbrock was ordained on October 24 by Bishop Seidenbusch in St. Cloud.

Edelbrock remained president of the university as abbot, but gave up his teaching position. During his tenure, the main university building and the church were built, and he often worked on the construction himself. He had churches, vicarages, schools and hospitals (including St. Cloud and Duluth) built in the parishes administered by the Benedictines. The number of staff at the convention also increased considerably during his tenure.

After his resignation at the end of 1889, Edelbrock took over as rector (pastor) of Saint Anselm’s congregation in New York. He died in New York on May 18, 1908 and was buried in Saint John’s Convent Cemetery.