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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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in memoriam

Rev. Schulterbrandt dies unexpectedly at 72

Redemptorist Father Henrique Schulterbrandt — a man who always saw and responded to the needs or pains or burdens of others — died of an apparent heart attack on June 16th at the Juan Luis Medical Center in St. Croix, VI. He had been expected to be released from the hospital the following morning after having been treated for an ulcer. The St. Thomas native was 72 years old.

A Wake Service is planned for Sunday, June 22nd, at 7 p.m. at St. Patrick Church in Frederiksted, St. Croix, where he had been serving since 2005. The Funeral Mass will be offered there the following day at 10:30 a.m.; burial will be in the Redemp¬torist Cemetery in the churchyard.

"He was the most loving, kind person I ever met," said his pastor, Father John McLaughlin. "Talk about Gospel friendship! He loved people, really loved people."

Father Schulterbrandt, known for many years in Religious life as Brother De Montfort ("Brother De"), was born March 27, 1936, in Charlotte Amalie, St. Tho¬mas, and was raised in Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. He attended grammar school and high school there and also served as the parish sacristan during his teenage years. Influenced by the example set by the Redemptorists and by the Sisters of Charity, he was drawn to the Religious life and encouraged to become a Redemptorist Brother. He made his first profession of vows in 1960 and his final profession in 1964.

From 1960 to 1969, he was assigned to the Redemptorist novitiate at Ilchester, MD, where the confreres enjoyed the benefits of his skill as a cook. At the end of 1969, he was assigned to St. James Church in Baltimore, where Father Kenneth Gaddy was a youngster and learned from Brother De Montfort how to serve at the altar. "He played an important role in my own vocation – he and (the late Father) Jerry Moody. I admired his commitment to the community. Those were some tough times and he was always out there with the people," Father Gaddy said. "He was adamant that we were going to do community service. He said we had to make sure they had enough to eat." Brother De Montfort became very close to Father Kenny’s family, he added, offering his older brother his first paid job, persuading his father to attend Mass on a regular basis, and encouraging his mother to "come out of her shell."

In 1976, Brother De Montfort was transferred to St. Cecilia Church in East Harlem. Father Francis Skelly, who was with him at St. Cecilia’s, said, "Brother De was tremendous with the sick people in the parish. He didn’t just make Communion calls; he’d stay and play dominos or cards. Sometimes he’d have coffee and lunch with the shut-ins. They loved him." As sacristan, Brother De Montfort "always had music going when people were expected" Father Skelly added. "There was at atmosphere of prayer he created." At St. Cecilia’s, he became known for his patience, gentleness and compassion for the people ~ and also for giving great advice. Father Skelly said, "I remember going off to preach a retreat and before I left he told me: ’Go and be Jesus, not yourself.’" ’

Father Joseph Tizio also was with Brother De Montfort in East Harlem and recalled, "He was a wonderful man, a gentle soul. We worked together with the senior citizens and he was wonderful with them. Even though he didn’t speak Spanish, he understood them and they loved him."

He returned to his beloved Virgin Islands in 1978, being assigned to St. Patrick Church in Frederiksted. Msgr. Michael Kosak, Diocesan Administration now, then directed the diaconate program for the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. "When he was a Brother, he was in our deacon program and we were so happy to have him back in the islands," Msgr. Kosak said.

He had a great gift for visiting people in the nursing home and the hospital. He was also tolerant of those who wanted to go their own way," he added. "He and Felix Francis were the first to be ordained deacons here, on June 2, 1984, by Bishop (Edward J.) Harper," he added.

In an interview with the Catholic Islander in June of 1994, the then-Deacon Schulterbrandt said that it was during a sabbatical in 1985, when he was in Santa Monica, CA, that he dreamt of the priesthood. He said he consulted with his longtime friend, Brother Martin de Porres, and received encouragement from Father Carlyle Blake, the first native-born pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, and a mentor throughout his years as a Redemptorist. It was the laity more than any other group, he said, that was instrumental in pointing out his call to minister as a priest.

He returned to New York in 1987 and, after serving for six months at Most Holy Redeemer Parish and receiving permission to begin his preparation for the priesthood, he was enrolled at St. Alphonsus Seminary in Suffield, CT. For the next seven years, he studied with people half his age. On June 2,1994, he was ordained to the priesthood at St. Patrick Church, Frederiksted, by his longtime friend and onetime classmate in the diaconate program, Bishop Elliott G. Thomas.

Father Schulterbrandt was assigned to Marchand, St. Lucia, for the remainder of that year and, in 1995, was transferred to Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. Brother Gerard St. Hilaire and Brother Jeffrey Rolle were serving in St. Lucia at the same time. The former recalled Father Schulterbrandt’s love of the sea, love of his community and love of his confreres. "He was always joking with us and the people used to call him ’the dancing priest.’ Any activity they had, he’d be with them," Brother Gerard said. But more than his good humor, he added, he will sorely miss Father Schulterbrandt’s spiritual example and guidance in his prayer life and in his vocation. Brother Jeffrey said, "He was really into his ministry and also into the community. It was important to him that we did our monthly retreat together, that we had our day off, that we did our prayers together. I loved to hear him sharing his faith and his stories. It was a good place for me to start out in ministry."

From St. Lucia, Father Schulterbrandt moved on to Dominica, first as superior of the house in Belfast in 1999 and then to the retreat house in Eggleston in 2003. He returned to Frederiksted in 2005.

In recent years, Father Schulterbrandt had to deal with several ailments and would travel to the Provincial Residence in Brooklyn to consult with doctors. When he came to New York, he would make a point of visiting Father McLaughlin’s mother. "He’d buy her roses and say they came from me," Father McLaughlin said. "She would call to thank me for the beautiful flowers and I would wonder, ’What flowers?’"

Father Michael Hopkins, who was in touch with Fr. Schulterbrandt over the years and saw him again recently at the Provin¬cial Residence, described his friend as "a very simple guy; what you saw was what you got. His spirituality was very simple, very quiet. He was very concerned about people, especially the poor and the needy. He was very present to the people – and with them." Although Father Schulterbrandt’s death came unexpectedly, he was well prepared for it, Father Hopkins said. "He always talked about going home, but not in any maudlin way," he explained. "He believed we’re here to do a special thing, get it done, then we go home."

Father Schulterbrandt’s yearning to see God was evident to Father McLaughlin, too: "He loved the ministry and loved the Lord and he often said, ’I can’t wait to see my Maker!’"


Rev. Henrique Schulterbrandt C.Ss.R.

  • Born: March 27, 1936
  • Professed: August 2, 1960
  • Ordained: June 2, 1994
  • Died: June 16, 2008