Brother Bob Wiethorn, SM: Marianist Brother Celebrates 60 Years of Religious Life in the Archdiocese
by Kary Ellen Berger
For 60 years, Brother Bob Wiethorn, SM, has been a staple within the Marianist community and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. 2020 marks his 60th anniversary of professing his first vows.
Brother Wiethorn began exploring the idea of becoming a Marianist brother during his time at what was formerly Purcell High School (now Purcell Marian).
“I had many Marianists as teachers and as moderators of clubs I belonged to: the photography club, the science club, and, especially, the Sodality of Mary Immaculate,” he shared. “It was in the latter that I came to understand more about the Marianist spirit and spirituality. I found several Marianists to be particularly good guides for me growing through my adolescent years. I admired the Marianist brothers and priests; the way they interacted with students and each other, and their family spirit. There was a definite sense of community among them which extended to the students and the entire school community.”
In the spring of 1959, Wiethorn applied for admission to the novitiate and professed his first vows in August of 1960. With service at the forefront of his passions, Brother Wiethorn discerned becoming a teacher or doctor and chose the former. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1964 with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. From there, he had a career in teaching and school administration, including at Chaminade High School, where he helped oversee the merger of Chaminade and Julienne High Schools. He also served as Vocation Director for the Marianists of the Cincinnati Province and, later, became the Director of Marianists living on the Mercy Siena Campus for independent assisted-living and nursing care residents. Today, he is a member of the Marianist Community and the support team for the brothers at Siena Woods.
Brother Wiethorn’s love of learning has continued as technology has developed.
“I am a pretty good tech assisting our Marianist brothers with everything from iPads to cell phones, ZOOM- ing to emailing,” Brother Wiethorn chuckled. “I like the mysterious, and when something is wrong with a computer, fixing it or finding a solution is like working a puzzle – I love it. When I solve it, I always tell the person, ‘Wiethorn– 1 Computer – 0.’”
When reflecting on his favorite Bible verses, Brother Wiethorn shared a verse beloved by many Marianists: “Do whatever He tells you,” said by Mary to servants at the Wedding Feast at Cana.
“Additionally, ‘I hold you in the palm of my hand … I will never forget you,’ is significant to me because it describes a key part of my spirituality and relationship with God,” Brother Wiethorn said. “God is with me no matter what happens to me or what I do as one who loves me unconditionally. And I have found that to be true throughout my life.”
Brother Wiethorn added, “I am so grateful for the 60 years I have been blessed and supported by my brothers to live our Marianist life. God is good ALL the time, and all the time God is good.”
Update: Brother Wiethorn recently died from complications of Covid-19. Please keep him in your prayers.
This article appeared in the December 2020 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.