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Rev. Joachim (Joseph) Spexarth, O.S.B.
Monk of St. Gregory’s Abbey
December 11, 1938 – June 12, 2022
Rev. Joachim Spexarth, O.S.B., entered eternal life on Sunday, June 12, 2022. He was 83. He had completed 61 years of monastic profession and 57 years of priestly ministry.
Father Joachim was born on December 11, 1938, in Colwich, KS, to Bernard and Olivia (Lies) Spexarth. He was baptized and raised in Sacred Heart Parish in Colwich, KS, along with one brother and six sisters. He completed high school at St. Gregory’s High School, Shawnee, OK, in 1956. Afterward he attended Conception Abbey Seminary where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.
Fr. Joachim professed vows as a monk of St. Gregory’s Abbey on July 11, 1960. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 23, 1965. Following his ordination, Fr. Joachim pursued graduate studies in speech at Northwestern University, the University of Denver, Southern Illinois University and the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a Master of Arts Degree.
Fr. Joachim was an inspiring member of the monastic community and held several roles of leadership. At various times he served as Vocation Director, Novice Master, Archivist, member of the Senior Council and for many years as Subprior, overseeing the maintenance of the monastery facilities, equipment and grounds. Never one to remain idle, he engaged in many hobbies and activities. He loved working outdoors on various landscaping projects and with the abbey bees and honey harvest. He enjoyed organizing special celebrations and social events for the monastic community and guests. To the delight of monks and visitors, he collected and arranged scores of figurines each year to create an elaborate Nativity scene in the Abbey Church.
Fr. Joachim served for many years at St. Gregory’s College and University, at various times as Residence Hall Director, Dean of Students and most notably as Instructor of Speech for generations of students. His unique and often entertaining method of teaching speech helped many overcome their fear of public speaking. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the college and university.
Fr. Joachim was zealous in his ministry as a priest. He coordinated the weekend supply ministry of Abbey priests in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the Diocese of Tulsa, and the Archdiocese for Military Services. He enjoyed traveling to parishes around Oklahoma to provide weekend assistance, especially at the chapel communities at Ft. Sill and Altus Air Force Base. He was eager to help with seasonal parish penance services and was known as an effective confessor. He served in full-time residential pastoral ministry from 1985 to 1989 at Coalgate, Lehigh and Atoka, OK, and from 1989 to 1994 at Prague and Stroud, OK, including as rector of the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague. He was elected to several terms on the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
Fr. Joachim died on Sunday, June 12, while engaged in the outdoor tasks he enjoyed. He is survived by the monks of St. Gregory’s Abbey, several siblings, numerous nieces and nephews, and many friends.
Public viewing will be available at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Shawnee from 1:30 – 4:45 on Thursday, June 16, and from 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. on Friday, June 17. A vigil service will be held at St. Gregory’s Abbey at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 17. Mass for Christian Burial will be at St. Gregory’s Abbey at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 18. Services are open to the public.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in honor of Fr. Joachim can be contributed to: The St. Gregory’s Abbey Benefit Trust, 1900 W. MacArthur, Shawnee OK 74804, and online at www.monksok.org.