Brother Mark E. Thedens, O.S.A. (1937 - 2003)
Brother Mark E. Thedens, O.S.A. died on February 24, 2003. He was 66 years old.
Born on January 4, 1937 to Rollo and Jane (Mellon) Knapp in Chicago, Illinois, he was baptized John Keith Knapp on September 5, 1937 at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church, Chicago. After his mother's marriage to Leroy Thedens in 1943, Keith was adopted by his new father and changed his surname to Thedens. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on October 17, 1948 at St. Bernard Catholic Church, Chicago.
After graduating from St. Bernard Elementary School (1951) and St. Rita High School (1955), both in Chicago, Keith entered the Augustinian formation program as a Postulant in September 1955. He was received into the Novitiate on September 8, 1956 and professed simple vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 10, 1957. Following profession of vows, he began collegiate studies in the Augustinian seminary program. He studied for one year at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Conception, Missouri, and for the next three years at Tolentine College, Olympia Fields, Illinois. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Tolentine in 1961.
Upon the expiration of his temporary vows in 1961, Keith decided to leave the program of preparation for priestly ordination and become a non-clerical brother in the Order. At this time, he took the religious name Mark. He was required to repeat his Novitiate year, so he was again received into the Novitiate on January 20, 1962. He professed simple vows on January 21, 1963 and solemn vows on January 22, 1966.
Mark was assigned to St. Rita High School in 1963, where he taught Spanish and directed the school chorus. He continued his studies while teaching, earning a B.A. in Music in 1969 from St. Joseph College, Rensselaer, Indiana. In 1985, he was transferred to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields, where he served as Treasurer. Because of his musical skills, he was named Associate Liturgy Director for the Province in 1988.
From 1991 to 1993, Mark was Director of Music at St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago. Following a brief return to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, he served again at St. Clare of Montefalco from 1994 to 1999. He was transferred back to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery in 1999, where he worked in the offices of the Augustinian Guild. He died suddenly in his room at Tolentine on February 24, 2003.
A skilled organist and pianist, Mark is remembered for his musical talent. His deep resounding singing voice was a regular contribution to liturgical celebrations with the seniors of Mercy Residence at Tolentine, where he also provided musical entertainment from time to time. His music was also valued by the friars present at various Province meetings and gatherings. Mark's sense of humor often brought smiles to those who knew him. He was patient and cheerful even when faced with health complications related to diabetes. His generous willingness to help out in any way was appreciated by all.
Mark is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.