Schiel, Nicholas E.Died
Jesuit Father Nicholas E. Schiel died on Jan. 21, 2013, in the San José Jesuit Community in El Progresso, Honduras, to which he moved several years ago because of failing health. He was 88 years old, a Jesuit for almost 70 years, and a priest for 57 years.
Born into a large family in Waterloo, Iowa, on Dec. 26, 1924, Fr. Schiel attended grade school and high school in Waterloo. After a semester at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., he entered the Society at St. Stanislaus Seminary, Florissant, Mo., on Feb. 4, 1943. Fr. Schiel had the usual Jesuit course of studies at St. Stanislaus, West Baden College and St. Mary’s College. He was ordained on June 16, 1955, and made tertianship at St. Joseph’s Hall in Decatur, Ill., in 1956-57. He pronounced final vows in 1960. In 1965, he earned a Ph.D. in Spanish at Saint Louis University.
Fr. Schiel did regency in Belize. After ordination and graduate studies, he taught Spanish at Creighton University from 1962 to 1970. In 1970 he began almost 40 years of service as a missionary in Yoro and Olancho, Honduras. He spent 2003-2005 in residence at St. Camillus, praying for the Church and the Society, but then returned to Honduras for several more years of demanding pastoral and retreat ministry before he moved to the San José Community in El Progresso.
Fr. Schiel found himself in Honduras. He lived close to the poor for many, many years, giving well over a thousand two-day village retreats between 1970 and 2009 in Yoro and Olancho. Thousands of villagers remember Padre Nicolás and mourn his passing.
Fr. Schiel will be buried in El Progresso. Eight of Fr. Schiel’s brothers and sisters preceded him in death. His sole surviving sibling is his sister Virginia, who lives in Waterloo and will soon celebrate her one hundredth birthday.