David L. Brecht, OSA died in the late afternoon of September 6, 2014. He was 75. He had been battling a leukemia-like condition called myelodysplasis since 2012. His bone marrow did not make enough healthy blood cells. The blood cells did not mature into healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. The immature blood cells did not function normally and either died in the bone marrow or soon after they entered the blood.
David underwent chemotherapy treatments. A series of blood transfusions gave him some relief, but the transfusions had become increasingly less effective.
As he grew weaker, he made the decision at the end of the 2013-2014 school year to retire from teaching and campus ministry at Austin Catholic Academy, Ray, Michigan.
Early Life, Formation, and Education
David was born on October 17, 1938, in Detroit, Michigan, to John Lloyd and Mary Brecht. He met the Augustinians when he attended Austin Catholic High School in Detroit. He entered the Augustinian Order as a Novice on September 8, 1956 and professed his first vows on September 10, 1957. He professed his solemn vows exactly three years later in 1957.
Father Brecht holds two academic degrees from Villanova University including a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Classical Languages. He later earned a Diploma in Counseling from Salesian University in Rome. He attended Loyola University Chicago where he also earned a Master of Education and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Administration. Amidst his studies, he was ordained to the priesthood on February 6, 1965.
Education Ministry through 1990
After ordination, Father Brecht was first assigned to Mendel Catholic High School in Chicago as a teacher and chaplain. In 1967, he was assigned to Tolentine College in Olympia Fields, Illinois, where he served as sub-master of the professed, an academic dean, and a teacher.
In 1973, the same year in which Father Brecht completed his doctorate, he began teaching at Villanova University in Philadelphia and also held administrative positions there. He was later assigned to serve as Principal of St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago from 1979 to 1983. During this time, he also served as a member of the Provincial Council. In 1983, he was named Superintendent of Augustinian Schools and Prior of St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery in Olympia Fields. In 1985, Father Brecht was appointed Headmaster of Cascia Hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While at Cascia Hall, Fr. Brecht was responsible for the school becoming co-educational and establishing a grade 6-12 education program.
Three Terms as Prior Provincial
In 1991, Father Brecht was elected Prior Provincial, the leader of the Midwest Augustinian Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel. As Provincial, Father Brecht launched the Augustinians' Journey of a Lifetime capital campaign to benefit the needs of the the retiring Augustinians. He served as Provincial for two terms until 1999, when he was assigned as the associate pastor of St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, Illinois. He returned to Tulsa as a teacher at Cascia Hall in 2001.
In 2002, Father Brecht was again elected as Prior Provincial; he is only one of two Augustinians to serve as Prior Provincial for the Midwest Province for three terms. At the end of his term in 2006, he was named Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. He later served as the chaplain of Villanova College in King City, Ontario, during the 2009-2010 school year. In 2010, he returned to St. Clare of Montefalco Parish as Pastor and also served as the Headmaster of Austin Catholic Academy, a new Catholic secondary school in Ray, Michigan.
Named an "Outstanding Educator of America" in 1972, Father Brecht was cited for his contributions to the advancement of higher education and service to the community. He was inducted into the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor in 1980 "in recognition of service to all people regardless of race or faith." Periods of archaeological research on Roman ruins in Tunisia and Algeria, where St. Augustine lived and ministered in the fourth and fifth centuries, gave Father Brecht material for numerous lectures, published papers, and a short documentary on the life and times of Augustine. Additionally, Father Brecht has published several articles on educational themes and served on many educational commissions and task forces. Father Brecht was recognized as an honoree for the Augustinian Gala in 2014.
Thursday, September 11th: Wake 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm St. Clare of Montefalco Parish 1401 Whittier Rd. Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
Funeral Mass at 6:00 pm, followed by a reception in the Church Hall. Friday, September 12th: Burial at Augustinian Plot Mount Olivet Cemetery 17100 Van Dyke Ave. Detroit, MI 48234 Saturday, September 13th: Memorial Mass at St. Rita Chapel, 10:00 am Cascia Hall 2520 S. Yorktown Ave. Tulsa, OK 74114-2803
Saturday, September 20th: Memorial Mass at St. Rita Shrine Chapel, 10:00 am. St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel 7740 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60620