Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Library, 1993-2005
In the monastic community of the Benedictines of Engelberg, Father Gregor (Theodor) Bucher, Dr. phil., lic. theol. from Grosswangen (LU), Switzerland died on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September 2019. He was in the 85th year of his life and 51st year of his monastic profession.
Theodor Bucher was born on 21 April 1935, on Easter Sunday, as the eldest of seven children in Grosswangen, where his father was a writer and notary for the local area. Within his family circle, Theodor found safe haven and grew in the development of his talents, in spite of suffering seriously from tuberculosis at the age of five. On two occasions, the illness forced him to have residency away from home for two-year periods, first in Davos, then later in Leysin.
In 1957, he successfully passed his high school graduation exams at Engelberg Abbey School, which were followed by more study and traveling. Young Theodor first studied philosophy and musicology in Leuven and later in Cologne, where he also devoted himself more intensively to organ playing. Subsequently, he went to Paris to study theology and the foundations of mathematical research. Having earned a licentiate in philosophy and theology, he found employment as a private assistant for mathematical logic in Leuven, where he received his Ph.D. in 1971.
While Theodor Bucher seemed to have found his home in the universities within the realm of science, nevertheless he decided to take up the stability of the Benedictine life and entered the monastery of Engelberg. In 1968, he made his profession, was ordained a priest three weeks later and then completed a pastoral year in Chur. Afterwards, he taught Philosophy, English and Russian at Stiftschule Engelberg. In 1973, he was appointed as a lecturer in philosophy at the Theological College of Chur, where he served as Rector from 1982-1986 and Vice-Rector during the following years. In 1993, he resigned from his professorship in Chur and moved to Rome (1993) as a lecturer at Sant’Anselmo and director of the library for the Benedictine Order located there. In addition to his teaching, his book Introduction to Applied Logic received a great deal of attention within specialist circles.
In 2005, Father Gregor returned to Engelberg Monastery for reasons of age. At Engelberg, he completely integrated himself once again into the monastic community and helped with countless services, as well as various pastoral and monastic tasks. He was always meticulously prepared for the endeavor at hand, and he was deeply appreciated as a brother by the entire community. He maintained intensive contact with his siblings and went on vacations with them. He gladly exchanged views with former fellow professors. In recent years, dementia had an unexpected impact on his life, and he became increasingly dependent on medical assistance and routine care.
We thank God and Father Gregor for the time that we were allowed to share with him, and we express our thanks to all who accompanied and supported him until his passing.
– Abbot Christian, the monastic community of Engelberg, and the Bucher family