Rev. Robert F. Gardella, O.S.A. (1939-2001)
Rev. Robert F. Gardella, O.S.A. entered eternal life on August 17, 2001, following a short illness.
Robert F. Gardella was born on September 4, 1939 to Anthony and Helen Gardella in Detroit, Michigan. He was baptized on October 8, 1939 at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, Detroit.
After studying at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Bob entered St. Augustine Seminary, Holland, Michigan, in 1957 as a post-graduate. The following year, he entered the Augustinian Novitiate, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, professing his first (temporary) vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 5, 1959.
Bob continued his studies for the priesthood at Tolentine College, Olympia Fields, Illinois. He professed solemn (permanent) vows in the Order on September 5, 1962. The following year, he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy.
Bob studied Theology for the next four years, also at Tolentine. He was ordained to the priesthood on November 21, 1966.
After completing his theological studies, Father Gardella was assigned to Austin Catholic High School, Detroit, where he served as teacher and librarian. He earned a Master's degree in Library Science from Villanova University in 1968.
During those years, he also began to work as a hospital chaplain -- a ministry that would be a significant part of his life at various times for many years after that. He completed two quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Michigan Hospital in 1971-72.
Father Gardella was transferred to Immaculate Conception/St. Henry Parish, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1975. He was named Prior (local superior) of the Augustinian community there. In addition, he served as Associate Pastor of the parish and as a member of the Novitiate formation team.
Father Gardella was assigned to St. John Stone Friary, Chicago, in 1983. There he was Prior and a member of the formation team. During his time in Chicago, he also served on various province commissions for the Augustinians, including the Parish Commission and the Province Renewal Team.
Because of his love for hospital ministry, Father Gardella returned to St. Louis in 1985, where he served as chaplain at St. John Mercy Hospital. He was also appointed Treasurer of the Immaculate Conception/St. Henry Community.
He returned to his native Detroit in 1996 to be chaplain at Bon Secours Hospital. Father Gardella was named Director of Pastoral Care at Providence Hospital in 1998. He continued in that ministry, residing at St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, until the time of his death on August 17, 2001, the feast of St. Clare of Montefalco.
Father Gardella is remembered for his compassion and deep sense of conviction. Many people sought him out because of his giftedness. He knew how to be supportive and caring of others, especially in time of need. He exhibited a deep concern for community life and the welfare of his fellow Augustinians.
He is buried in the Augustinian Plot at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Detroit.