Kerndt, James

From Biographia Cisterciensis

James Kerndt OCSO
(Foto: New Melleray Abbey)

James Kerndt OCSO

religious name: Matthias (until 1968)

8. Abbot of New Melleray Abbey 1964–1966

* 17 April 1914 Lansing, Iowa
22 April 2010 New Melleray, Peosta, Iowa

Born in Lansing, Iowa, on April 17, 1914, Father James Kerndt attended Loras College from 1932, graduating Cum Laude in 1936. From 1937 till 1939, he served as Research Assistant at the Security First National Bank of Los Angeles, California, and from 1939 until 1942, he was Auditor of Richfield Oil Corporation of Los Angeles. In 1942, he joined the Navy and served as a Lieutenant in the South Pacific until 1946. James moved back to Lansing in 1946, becoming Vice-President of Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank until entering New Melleray Abbey in 1951.

Fr. James was ordained to the Priesthood at the Abbey on April 23, 1957. He was elected by the Community as the Eighth Abbot of New Melleray on July 28, 1964. When he retired after two years as Abbot because of poor health he served as Chaplain to the Nuns at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey for eighteen years.

A few minutes after Vespers, on Thursday, April 22, 2010, Fr. James Kerndt's heart gave out and he died suddenly in his room while Br. Walter Schoenberg was taking care of him.

»Fr Jim« was a noted Spiritual Director and Confessor for many religious and lay people in the area. Even in the Monastery he kept in touch with his family and was very interested in the lives of his many nieces and nephews. Fr. James was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother Gus, killed in the Second World War, and by his brother, Tom, and his sister, Mary.


Vest.: 15. Jan. 1951; Prof.: (f.) 19. März 1956; Sac.: 23. April 1957; Abbas.: el. 28. Juli 1964, res. 1. Dez. 1966.



Citation: Kerndt, James, in: Biographia Cisterciensis (Cistercian Biography), Version vom 7.8.2015, URL:,_James

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