Venerable Pius Keller
Augustinian Servant of God
Pius Keller (1825-1904) was an Augustinian friar, a dedicated teacher and a leader who revitalized the Order of Saint Augustine in Germany.
Born in Ballingshausen, Bavaria, Germany in 1825, Pius was raised in a farm family. At considerable sacrifice, his family supported his studies at Munnerstadt and at the University of Wurtzburg.
Pius entered a diocesan seminary in 1846 and was ordained a Priest in 1849. The same year, he was given a teaching position in Munnerstadt, where, later in that year, he became a Novice in the Order of Saint Augustine.
He was a teacher for most of his adult life. His students found him to be demanding, just and understanding. By his teaching and by his example, he influenced many young people to follow the basic principles of the Faith throughout their lives.
The Order gave several positions of responsibility to Pius. He served several terms as Prior (local superior) in Munnerstadt, was named Commissary General and Assistant General (assistant world leader).
In 1895, he was chosen Prior Provincial (regional superior) of the newly restored Augustinian Province of Germany. In spite of difficulties and setbacks, Pius was instrumental in reestablishing community life and observance of the Rule and ideals of Saint Augustine. The Order in Germany grew under his leadership. When he entered, the German Province had only two houses and 11 friars. By 1900, there were nearly 100 friars in five monasteries.
Pius had a great love for history and for the Augustinian spiritual heritage. These were the primary themes of his writings.
He died in 1904 in Munnerstadt. His remains are preserved at the monastery church there.
The cause for his beatification and canonization began in 1934. However, most of the documents pertaining to the cause were destroyed during World War II, so the process began again in 1956. The Congregation for the Saints recognized the validity of his cause in 1990. The Council of Theologians of the Congregation on May 4, 2007 recognized the heroic virtues of Pius, allowing him to be referred to as “Venerable”. Josef Sciberras, O.S.A., the Augustinian Postulator of Causes, oversees the progress of the cause.