Br. Austin Mysliwiec, O.F.M.

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Br. Austin (Thomas) Mysliwiec, O.F.M., 73, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption B.V.M. Province, died peacefully Sunday morning, February 17, 2019. The son of Leon and Marion (Piotrowska) Mysliwiec was born in the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois on May 6, 1945, and baptized on May 29, 1945, at St. Pancratius Church, Chicago. Upon completing his elementary education at St. Pancratius Parochial School, he was admitted to St. Bonaventure Minor Seminary and High School in Sturtevant, Wisconsin.

Thomas entered the Assumption B.V.M. Province in Lake Geneva in 1963, and was invested with Tertiary habit on August 15 of the same year, receiving the name Austin. After investiture, Austin was assigned to the Assumption B.V.M. Monastery in Pulaski. There he assisted the friars of the Franciscan Missionary Union (FMU) Office, an umbrella department assisting missionaries abroad.

He was received as a novice at Queen of Peace Monastery & Novitiate, Lake Geneva on August 14, 1964, professing simple vows on August 15, 1965, and solemn profession on August 15, 1968. After novitiate Austin returned to Pulaski, where he served as porter and eventually as infirmarian.

Austin had an inquisitive nature. He found interest in comparative religions, whether it was Islam, Buddhism, or Judaism. His overseas travels led him to Myanmar and the Franciscan House of Prayer in Thailand. He connected with the Byzantine Tradition when the ABVM Province integrated the Byzantine Custody of St. Mary of the Angels in 1998. He delighted in the exploration of other cultures and religions and found his own spiritual life enriched.

It was circa 1970 that the province became aware of the many elderly friars needing assistance and personal attention. It requested that Brothers who were interested in caring for the sick and infirm of the community come forward. Austin was one of two friars who responded to the petition and was accepted. After some basic medical instruction at the Alexian Brothers Hospital in Chicago, Austin began caring for the elderly friars, while still working at his regular assignment at the Franciscan Publishers. By 1968, Austin began in earnest to serve the needs of the infirm friars full time. In early 1973, he attended classes for his LPN certification at NWTI in Green Bay, graduating on December 3rd of the same year. By the time his ministry to the infirm ended in 1981, Pulaski had become his permanent residence and, without packing a box, Austin moved to Franciscan Publishers, where he remained as a Lino-typist until the closing of the Printery. Austin was also on the staff of the Provincial Office, where he coordinated mass stipends for the province at Franciscan Publishers.

In 2011, Austin found himself relocating to St. Mary of the Angels Friary in Green Bay, where he continued to manage the Provincial mass stipend account. He would remain in the Green Bay area until his health caused him to move back to ABVM Friary in Pulaski.

The Funeral Mass was celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 4th at Assumption B.V.M. Church in Pulaski, Provincial Minister Fr. James Gannon O.F.M. presiding and Fr. Anthony Cirignani O.F.M. Homilist, followed by committal in the Provincial Cemetery.