Remarks at the Funeral of Fr. Hugh Wreisner, O.P.
Fr. Edward Ruane, O.P., Provincial
For many of us, I think, Hugo's death was quite a shock. We didn't quite expect it. That in many ways he always appears to be a person a little larger than life. If I were to characterize certain qualities of Hugo it would be a certain simplicity an buoyancy, especially when things got tough. No one can say it better than what Benjamin had to say in his homily, with regards to Hugo getting the point.
Oftentimes Hugh and I had very serious conversations together, and we may have even had disagreements or differences of opinion or emphases. But always, always Hugo was one of the easiest brothers ever approached even when one had to do something hard or say something that wasn't the most pleasant.
You were always greeted with a smile, it was always "Don't worry about it Ed," it was always, "Yes, yes, this will work out." As I get in his car sometimes and go wherever I would go he would say, "Don't worry, don't worry." "Hugo it's serious business, your health is important." "Yeah, yeah, I know."
I remember one time, I can even remember where we were sitting, it was in Madison hospital, and we were talking about life and death and his diabetes, and the seriousness of that disease. The fact that he was a brittle diabetic, and he could throw himself off very easily, he had to watch very carefully what he ate and drank. And it was just fine with him. He'd always sit there and smile and say, "That's all right. The thinner I grow the better it is," and yet in the midst of all that, you didn't run into a person that was gloomy, you didn't run into a person who never greeted you, a person who was sour on life. Rather he could smile, he could light up, he could cause me to light up rather easily, in the midst of his own "getting the point" to use Fr. Benjamin's term. His ability to see to the heart of the matter of certain situations.
Certainly all of us have our own cross to carry. We have our own difficulties. And I think if Hugo's life challenges us in any way, it's in the midst of those difficulties there can be a certain buoyancy, a certain bouncing back that comes from having one's feet grounded in faith in the Paschal mystery.
And so as we pray for him, as we celebrate this Mass of Christian Burial, as we ask God for His mercy, as we seek Hugo, if you will, on the other side of the rainbow. We know too that we've been challenged. We've been given a certain example of both what to do and what not to do, and yet always with deep confidence, and joy and fidelity in Christ's mercy and God's love in Christ.