A memorial Mass for Jesuit Father Frank J. Schmitt was celebrated at Nov. 12 in the Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola at Jesuit Hall in Midtown St. Louis.
Father Schmitt died Nov. 3 in St. Louis. He was 79 years old, a Jesuit for 61 years and a priest for 35 years.
Born in South Point, Mo., Father Schmitt earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Regis University in Denver. He studied theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., earning a master of divinity degree in 1984. He also had a certificate in stationery engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a certificate in welding from Lincoln Electric Welding School in Cleveland. In 2003, he earned at diploma in Native American ministries from the Sioux Spiritual Center in Howes, S.D.
He entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant in 1957 and pronounced first vows two years later. Soon after finishing the novitiate, he changed course; instead of studying for the priesthood, he began preparation as a religious brother. He worked for two years at St. Joseph Hall in Decatur, Ill., and lived as a junior brother in Milford, Ohio, while he learned various trades. He worked in maintenance at De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, where he pronounced final vows as a Jesuit brother in 1973. He also served for five years at St. Stephen’s Mission in St. Stephen’s, Wyo.
In 1979, he was granted permission to prepare for ordination to the priesthood. He was ordained at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in 1983.
Father Schmitt served in pastoral ministry at St. Francis Xavier (College Church) Parish in St. Louis and parishes in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Oregon and in Belize. He served in pastoral ministry at Jesuit Hall in St. Louis from 2016 until his death.
He salvaged what others threw away in a private crusade against wasteful excess and enjoyed fixing things.
Survivors include his brothers Robert and Edward Schmitt, and his sisters Patricia Ann Arnold-Hapner, Martha Schmitt, Anne Marie Welsh, Susan Bernadette Langstratt, Barbara Mary Moran, Christine Marie Price, and Margaret Rose Warwick. Father Schmitt donated his body to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.