Thursday, October 31, 2013

A ghostly tale for Halloween

Years ago when I was still in high school I read a collection of ghost stories called "Haunted Heartland." Most of them weren't a bit scary and were presented in  the dry  businesslike fashion of a folklorist who is merely collecting materials for a dissertation, but one tale stuck with me. It was the story of Fr. Louis Lesches, a priest assigned to St. Mary's College in Minnesota, who tried to kill his superior, Bishop Patrick Hefron. The bishop was saying Mass in the chapel one morning when he turned around and saw Fr. Lesches standing behind him. To the bishop's surprise, the priest was wearing a Prince Albert suit instead of his cassock or clericals. To add to this surprise the bishop quickly realized that  the priest was packing heat. Fr. Lesches fired a gun three times, hitting the bishop twice.

At that time Fr. Lesches was already the number one problem child of the diocese. Although he was said to be brilliant and had done well in the academic part of his seminary studies,  he was also overly emotional, insubordinate, and felt that the bishop was persecuting him. He'd failed at parish assignments and now the annoyed and apparently unsympathetic bishop was keeping a close eye on him.

 Bishop Heffron's vestments, orneriness, and his great physical shape probably saved his life.  Instead of dropping dead or swooning he yelled at his now panicked attacker and chased him out of the chapel. Fr. Lesches was captured and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital.

 Students have been claiming to see the ghost of Fr. Lesches on campus for decades. It's a spooky tale but I hope everyone who hears or reads it will stop and say a prayer for this poor, strange, unstable man who never should've been ordained but is a priest forever and one who probably really needs our help now. 


Old Bob said...

Yep, needs prayers!

newguy40 said...


Could this have been an instance of demonic influence or mere mental instability? We can't really know.

I live in a city on the west coast with one of the highest numbers of homeless. I see many mentally ill and addicted people everyday and it breaks my heart. My wife and younger son work a couple months per week at a local food bank. I help out some of the local parish with a monthly meal prep in the basement of a church nearby. I try to help in this way but prayer for the disturbed seems like the most I can do. The local shrine stays open for adoration from sun up to sun down all year. The numbers of disturbed homeless people I encounter on my way over there just seems to keep growing.

Gina said...

Methinks this'll be staying with me, too. Indeed, he is a priest forever. Prayers. <3

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"I live in a city on the west coast with one of the highest numbers of homeless. I see many mentally ill and addicted people everyday and it breaks my heart."

Newguy, what makes you think that many are "mentally ill or addicted"?