December 21st 1968 - Rahner Hugo
† in Munich
Hugo Rahner wrote a 'curriculum vitae' which to a large extent was used for his Obituary picture. Upon it the following report is based.
Hugo was born in the small town Pfullendorf in Baden on May 3rd 1900. There his father was a middle school professor. Hugo was the third of seven children. He spent the first school years in Emmerdingen. From 1908 on the family lived in Freiburg in Breisgau. From his father he inherited the preference for history, and an excellent teacher woke in him the love for Latin poetry, particularly for Horaz and Ovid.
After six months military service at the end of World War I, he entered, immediately after the final examination in 1918, on January 11th 1919 the Society of Jesus. The usual education in the Order followed. From 1920 to 1923 the study of philosophy in Valkenburg (Holland), during the interstice from 1923 to 1926 educational work in the Stella Matutina in Feldkirch, from 1926 to 1931 the study of theology in Innsbruck. With a patristic thesis he finished his theological studies, after he had studied for many years the writings of the Greek and Latin Church Fathers.
From 1931 to 1934 studies and doctorate at the University of Bonn followed. His doctoral thesis was about falsified papal letters from the fifth century. In 1935 he was qualified in Innsbruck as a university lecturer for old church history and patristic. In the years from 1938 to 1945 he shared the banishment lot of the theological faculty. He went to Switzerland. He wrote about that time: '... I felt blessed from heaven that I could sit during the terrible struggle of the peoples quietly and passionately behind the volumes of the Church Fathers...'
During that time he was admitted into the circle 'Eranos' in Ascona, where he held religious-historical lectures from 1940 to 1946.
From 1935 on grew his interest in Ignatius of Loyola, whose biography he published in 1956, and in 1963 also an edition of Ignatius' correspondence with women, and still another work about Ignatius as man and theologian.
In 1963 he had to retire because of illness. His many friends dedicated to him at his sixtieth birthday a commemorative volume with the title 'Sentire Ecclesiam'. It contains 720 numbers of the bibliography of his printed works.
He was seized with the Parkinson illness some years after his sixtieth birthday. The beginnings were rather inconspicuous. Each spring his brethren brought him to Freiburg into the sanatorium of the Barmherzigen Brüder (Merciful Brothers) St Urban, where the illness achieved a certain stoppage.
Hugo was for a short time again the brilliant companion as whom one had known him. More and more the paralysis worsened, so much that the patient needed assistance also for the everyday things.
He came to Munich, where in the meantime also Karl Rahner had moved. Mother Rahner, more than 90 years old, lived still in Freiburg in the Vinzentius House, where also Ida Friederike Görres lived († in 1971).
Hugo Rahner died in Munich on December 21th 1968. Only in the very last days his spirit clouded, after he had with alert consciousness accepted for nine years the physical decline as meted out to him from God. He rests on the cemetery of the Berchmans College in Pullach.
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