Blase J. Zeiser, O.S.A.

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1878 – 1951 (May 9)

Blase J. Zeiser was born in Bowmans, Pennsylvania on October 8, 1878, the son of Blasius Zeiser and Juliana Sauer. He entered Villanova College in 1898, and was received into the novitiate in 1902. He made his profession of simple vows on June 30, 1903, and solemn vows on July 1, 1906. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Prendergast in Saint Charles’ Seminary, Overbrook, PA, on May 25, 1907.

Father Zeiser was assigned as an assistant in Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1907. The following year he was sent to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine in the Bronx, N.Y., and in 1912 to Our Mother of Consolation in Chestnut Hill, PA. In the Provincial Chapter of 1914, he was elected a Definitor of the Province. Then for 30 years, from 1917 to 1947, he served as prior and pastor of Saint Nicholas in the Bronx.

During his pastorate, he built a new church which was cited by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce as the most beautiful building erected in the Bronx in 1927. He also built and opened the parish elementary and high school. Father Zeiser organized a juvenile baseball league, and later received citations from ecclesiastical and civic leaders for his outstanding work with young people in the field of sports. During Father Zeiser’s pastorate, at least 10 young men from Saint Nicholas entered our Province. His ministry was marked by exemplary zeal, administrative talent, great generosity and a thoroughly Augustinian spirit in the promotion of devotions as well as in his great hospitality to visiting friars

From 1947 to 1949, Father Zeiser was assigned to Saint Augustine’s High School in San Diego, CA. In 1949, he retired to the Villanova Monastery because of poor health. He died in Byrn Mawr Hospital on May 9, 1951 at the age of 73. Prior Provincial Joseph Dougherty celebrated the Requiem Mass at which Father James Hurley, O.S.A. preached. Father Zeiser is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova.