Frank Anthony Schoen was born in Kansas City, MO, on 4 July 1940, the son of Frank J. and Helen (Immenschuh) Schoen. He was baptized one month later at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Kansas City and placed under the patronage of Saint Francis. From his early years, Frank displayed a remarkable aptitude for music; at the age of five he took up the piano, moving on to the organ at age 13. His brief flirtation with childhood sports ended abruptly when he broke two fingers making, as he later described it, a “clumsy catch.” Thereafter, at the insistence of his instructors, both his attention and his devotion were given to music.
But music was not the sole object of the young Frank’s attentive devotion. Even as a grade-schooler, he began to recognize the stirrings of an interior inclination to religious devotion as well. The sense of a call to manifest this dedication to God in priestly service gradually emerged, and from that time onward his purpose never wavered. He attended St. John’s Seminary High School in Kansas City, and from there advanced to Conception Seminary College. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in 1961, Frank was sent to study theology at the North American College in Rome, where his matriculation coincided with the most significant ecclesiastical event of the age: the convention of the Second Vatican Council. As a seminarian in Rome Frank thus had an opportunity to observe first-hand some of the events that would come to shape the Church he was preparing to serve. Having completed his seminary studies with a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, he was ordained to the priesthood on 16 December 1964.
However, the young Father Frank soon discovered that discernment of his own religious vocation had by no means ended. While a college student at Conception, he had been able to cultivate his personal appreciation for the intimate connection between music and liturgy. His years of work and study among the monks had awakened in him the further recognition that his spiritual life was strongly inclined to contemplation as well as to liturgical prayer. As a pastor, fewer opportunities to engage this facet of his spiritual life were available to him. He eventually found his way to the Shantivanam House of Prayer in Easton, KS, where, under the direction of fellow Conception-alumnus Father Ed Hays, he began a series of monthly contemplative retreats. It was at this time that Father Frank determined to return to Conception Abbey, this time as a postulant seeking entry into the monastic community.
Upon completion of his monastic novitiate, Father Frank professed first monastic vows on 7 September 1985, receiving the name Timothy. His work in the community was, naturally enough, largely focused on music. He was among the principal organists of the abbey from that time onward, and taught classes in voice, piano and organ in the seminary college. He was given the opportunity for further studies, obtaining a master’s degree in Liturgical Music from Saint John’s University, Collegeville MN, in 1996. He was particularly adept at choosing musical pieces perfectly suited to the occasion; few were unmoved by his triumphal performance of Charles-Marie Widor’s famous toccata to accompany the recessional of many an Easter Sunday Vigil Mass, after which spontaneous applause never failed to break forth from his energized hearers.
Father Timothy’s works and interests were not limited to music and liturgy. He served the community in many other capacities as well, from refectorian to porter to assistant choirmaster. He was an avid gardener, and for many years his carefully cultivated African violets graced many sunlit windowsills and tabletops in our monastery common rooms. He was also a great lover of poetry; his homilies were rendered thoughtful and beautiful by frequent allusions to Eliot, Yeats, and especially Auden, whose meditations on the Church’s liturgical life found singular resonance in Father Timothy’s own spiritual pondering. Perhaps more importantly, Father Timothy was also a popular spiritual director, both within the monastic and seminary communities and beyond. He ultimately found that taking up the mantle of monasticism had only enriched his profound dedication to pastoral service in the care of souls.
Father Timothy is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Paul B. (Mary Ann) Seibold, Jr., of Gladstone, MO; by his niece, Mrs. Brad (Karen) Evans of Lee’s Summit, MO; by his nephew Mr. Paul J. Seibold, also of Gladstone, MO; and by his monastic confreres.
Vespers of the Faithful Departed were prayed at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, 4 March 2016, and Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, 5 March 2016. We commend our beloved confrere to your prayerful remembrance. May he rest in eternal peace!