Obituary: St. Edward’s remembers Brother Romard
Holy Cross Brother Romard (Paul) Barthel died Dec. 7 at the age of 92. As a religious, Brother Romard spent most of his life either teaching at St. Edward’s University in Austin or serving in leadership positions for the Congregation of Holy Cross, Moreau Province.
Born in Evansville, Indiana, and baptized Paul Joseph, he and his siblings were strongly influenced by the active faith of their parents who instilled in them a desire to do God’s will. While Paul was in elementary school, his oldest brother entered the seminary for the Diocese of Indianapolis. Later, another brother joined the Benedictines at St. Meinrad’s Abbey.
In his youth, Brother Romard was taught by the Brothers of Holy Cross at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, and he found he liked the lifestyle of the brothers and decided he wanted to be a teacher like them. In the fall of 1942, he entered the Holy Cross postulancy program in Watertown, Wisconsin. He was received into the novitiate at Rolling Prairie, Indiana, on Jan. 15, 1943, and made his first profession there on Feb. 2, 1944, taking as his religious name Brother Romard.
Three years later, Brother Romard received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and professed his final vows there on Aug. 16, 1947. He was then assigned to Austin to begin studies at the University of Texas, earning his doctorate in Physics in 1951.
He taught physics and mathematics at St. Edward’s University, his home for most of the rest of his life. Along the way, he also served as the local superior for the brothers on campus at St. Joseph Hall, as Provincial Superior of the South-West Province and, at the international level, as First Assistant General of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
Brother Romard’s successful teaching ministry lasted more than 40 years. He remained dedicated to the brother’s vocation and the need to evangelize.
St. Edward’s University will celebrate the life of Brother Romard Barthel during its annual Homecoming and Family Weekend. On Feb. 17 from 3 to 3:30 p.m., Holy Cross Father Peter Walsh, director of Campus Ministry, will lead a memorial ceremony in the courtyard of Fleck Hall, the university’s former science building. Everyone touched by Brother Romard’s life or by the Holy Cross mission is welcome to join in remembering and honoring his legacy of service, kindness, wisdom and education.