Mass of Christian Burial for Father Gerald Ruelle, OSB, 91, of Richardton was 10:00 a.m., Friday, July 31, 2015 at Assumption Abbey, Richardton with Abbot Brian Wangler celebrating. Burial followed in the Abbey Cemetery.
Visitation for Father Gerald was from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 30 at Stevenson Funeral Home. Visitation continued from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Thursday at the Assumption Abbey with a vigil service being held at 7:00 pm. Visitation will continue on Friday one hour prior to the service at the Abbey.
Father Gerald Ruelle, died July 28, 2015, in the Richardton Health Center, Richardton, ND.
Fr. Gerald was born in Westhope, ND, April 28, 1924, to William and Ada (Dougherty) Ruelle. His mother died in 1928 and his father raised him and his two brothers, Bill and Jim. Fr. Gerald received his elementary and high school education in Westhope. He came to Assumption Abbey to begin his college education. After completing two years of collegiate education he joined monastic life at Assumption Abbey on June 10, 1944 and made his monastic vows July 11, 1945.
After he made his vows, Fr. Gerald attended the seminary of St. Paul’s, Ottawa, Canada, where he completed college and did priesthood studies. He received a bachelor’s degree in theology on May 24, 1951, and a licentiate in theology on May 25, 1952. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1950. He returned to St. Paul’s in Ottawa in the fall of 1955 to further his theological education. In year 1956 he became assistant pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Strasburg, ND, and on August 12, 1958, he was appointed assistant pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Devils Lake, ND.
In early 1960 the Abbot was looking among our monks for volunteers to go to Bogotá, Colombia, to begin a monastery and school there. Fr. Gerald was one of the volunteers. He, along with three others, left June 10, 1960, and became the founders of Monasterio Benedictino de Tibatí, Bogotá, Colombia, where he was one of the teachers. On August 18, 1965, Fr. Gerald returned to Richardton and was appointed chaplain of Mercy Hospital, Devils Lake, ND, and administrator of the parish at Minewaken. A few years later, 1969, he received one year CPE training at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, DC, in preparation to become chaplain of St. Alexius Medical Center, a position he began in 1970, and continued for 14 years. During this time he also did fifth step work for those in AA treatment at Heartview, Mandan, ND.
After 14 years as hospital chaplain Fr. Gerald was ready for a change. During 1984 he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Killdeer, ND, and its missions—St. Edward’s, Fayette (1984- 1986), and St. Paul’s, Halliday (1986-2007). He served in this capacity for 23 years. He retired to the Abbey on July 1, 2007.
Fr. Gerald had a big heart and many friends. He enjoyed visiting with people and always had time for them. He golfed until spring, 2015. Being a very social person, he found his increasing difficulty in hearing to be a frustration and hardship. Nevertheless, he saw it as an opportunity to accept this burden with faith. God gave him many gifts of kindness and he used them well.
Fr. Gerald was preceded in death by his parents William and Ada Ruelle, step-mother Kate Ruelle, his two brothers William and James Ruelle, and a sister-in-law Mary Ruelle. He is survived by his fellow monks, sister-in-law Esther (William) Ruelle and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
MAY HE REST IN PEACE
Abbot Brian and Community
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com
Stevenson Funeral Home & Crematory ~ Dickinson