Our confrere, Brother Charles Hlava, after a three-year struggle with cancer, died at the Abbey in the early evening of Saturday, May 7, 2022, just after the community joined at his bedside for the prayers of the dying. Born in Chicago on August 10, 1951, he was raised in Cicero, Il, and graduated from St. Joseph High School in Westchester. He came to St. Procopius College as a mathematics major in 1969. Three years later, Charles entered the novitiate of the Abbey, and he professed vows on August 11, 1973. A talented musician, he was soon an assistant organist for the Divine Office and Conventual Mass. After obtaining his degree in 1974, he taught mathematics at Benet Academy for four years. He then studied at Marquette University, obtaining a master’s degree in Mathematics in 1979. Returning to Benet, now as a counselor as well as a math teacher, he obtained a license in adolescent counseling from the State of Illinois in 1981. A year later, when Fr. Hugh Anderson was assigned to St. Joan of Arc Parish, Br. Charles succeeded him as Assistant Principal of the Academy. He served in that role for the next fifteen years, under three principals. Following a sabbatical in 1997-1998 that allowed him to study in Rome, Jerusalem, and Berkeley, CA, Br. Charles returned to counseling and teaching at Benet. His talents included considerable organizational ability, and over the decades he served the Abbey and schools in various other ways: Gardener, 1975-1976; Socius of Novices, 1979-1980; Music Coordinator at the Abbey, 1979-1983; Alumni Moderator at the Academy, 1982-1995; Director of Building and Grounds at the Abbey, 2003-2004; and for many years a member of both the Benet Board of Directors and the Benedictine University Board of Trustees. The onset of cancer obliged Br. Charles to leave the classroom at Benet in the spring of 2019. Treatment slowed the progress of the disease, which he bore stoically, and he continued to serve the community as assistant organist until just after Easter 2022, at which time his condition rapidly declined. He is survived by his community, and his two brothers, James and John. In memoriam, a candle burns brightly at his place at table in the monastic refectory.
Due to construction in the abbey church, the Abbot and Monks will receive his body at Vespers at St. Joan of Arc Church on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. The Community will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial at St. Joan of Arc Church on Friday, May 13, 2022, at 10:30 a.m., with interment in the abbey cemetery on the campus of Benedictine University. Please remember him in your prayers.
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