Irenaeus Schoenherr, OFM
1879 – 1972
Fr. Irenaeus Schoenherr, OFM, was born on Jan. 7, 1879, in Kleinlueder (Hessen), Germany. In 1897, he was received into the novitiate of the Fulda Province and professed temporary vows the following year. Following his ordination in 1905, he spent 14 years in formation work as master of brothers and then as master of clerics in various friaries.
He was guardian at Freiburg in Breisgau from 1919 to 1925. He then served as a councilor of the Fulda Province, but resigned six months after his election and came to the United States to give missions and retreats to German-speaking people.
In 1938, Fr. Irenaeus began his ministry of promoting the Guard of Honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which had been founded in Germany in 1932. During his years at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, he won many friends through his pastoral activities, his work among the German-speaking people and his guidance as confessor and spiritual counselor. Despite his advanced years, Fr. Irenaeus worked every day in the office of the Guard of Honor. He was a saintly friar who devoted the major portion of his priestly life to promoting the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially through the guard.
In March 1927, he was went to St. Clare’s Hospital in New York and in May he was transferred to the infirmary at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y.
He died there on Sept. 4, 1972. Fr. Irenaeus was 93 years old, a professed friar for almost 74 years a priest for almost 67 years. He served in Holy Name Province for 46 years.