Trappist Father Richard Gans, 90, died Oct. 9 at Our Lady of Miraflores, a Trappist monastery in Rancagua, Chile. His funeral and burial were there Oct. 10.
Norbert John Gans was born Feb. 6, 1931, to Joseph and Lidwina (Bentfield) Gans near West Union. He attended a small country school in West Union and after eighth grade, attended and graduated from Sauk Centre High School. After graduation from high school, he went on to attend St John’s University in Collegeville for two years.
On July 2, 1950, he left his family and farming community to serve God as a Trappist monk at Spencer, Massachusetts. He was ordained a priest Dec. 21, 1956. On Sept. 7, 1960, he left the United States to form a new Trappist monastery in Chile, South America. After 10 years in Chile, he accepted the responsibility of superior of this small community. After 16 years as superior, he served as novice master and later retired, working in their chocolate factory.
The Trappists are a contemplative order of religious dedicated to prayer. However, Father Gans also ministered and provided council for many people in Chile who sought support at the monastery. He was involved in setting up several orphanages in Santiago and facilitated the sponsorship of several Chilean youth to study in America.
He is survived by his nieces and nephews and their families, friends and families of his childhood communities of West Union and Sauk Centre and his Chilean monastery family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters and brothers-in-law, Gertrude and Al Krebsbach and Viola and Vern Bromen; brother and sister-in-law, Roger and Mildred Gans; niece, Linda Bromen Narveson; and nephew, Tom Bromen.