Father Basil Yender, O.S.B. 1943 – 2017
Father Basil Yender, O.S.B., age 74, a Benedictine monk of Marmion Abbey, Aurora, Illinois, after suffering a long illness, died peacefully in the Lord the morning of July 16, 2017. He is survived by members of his monastic community and his brother George (Gayle). He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Adeline (Seban) and by his sister Kathleen.
Father Basil was born on June 8, 1943, was baptized Ronald at St. Brendan Church in Chicago. After attending St. Dorothy Church grade school in Chicago, he attended Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Illinois and graduated in 1961. He entered Marmion Abbey as a novice in 1962 and professed his vows as a monk of Marmion on August 10, 1963. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Saint Procopius College. Father Basil then did his studies for the priesthood at Saint Procopius Seminary and later at the Pontificium Athenaeum Anselmianum, Rome, Italy, receiving a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. He was ordained a priest on August 7, 1971. In 1975 he earned a Masters Degree in Secondary School Administration degree from DePaul University, Chicago.
After ordination Father Basil served Marmion Abbey and Marmion Academy in a variety of responsibilities. Father Basil taught mathematics and theology at the Academy and was instrumental in overseeing Marmion’s initial implementation of computer technology. He also served as a dormitory prefect for many years and was Academic Dean from 1975-1988. In 1988 he was appointed Headmaster of the Academy. As Headmaster he guided the school through the significant change of mandatory JROTC to optional JROTC, established the LEAD alternate leadership program, and the first Campus Ministry and Kairos Retreat programs. He strengthened the academic standards of the school and increased the number of AP and elective courses. He introduced the varsity sports of soccer and wrestling. He also oversaw the phasing out of the Academy’s residential program toward the end of his tenure. He stepped down from the position of Headmaster in 2003.
After a one year sabbatical to study Sacred Scripture in the Holy Land and in Rome, Father Basil returned to Marmion to continue to teach theology in the Academy. He was also appointed Prior of the Abbey in 2004, a position he held until 2016, when he had to step down due to his increasingly poor health. During his time as Prior, he served on the Abbey Council as a wise and insightful voice. Fr. Basil taught junior monks Scripture and the Psalms and served for a brief time as Novice and Junior Master. Throughout his life Father Basil loved to teach. He also devoted himself to work around the Academy and Abbey, tending to the flowers and landscaping.
Father Basil’s body will be received by his monastic community and family on Friday, July 21, at 4:00 P.M. in the Abbey Church. Visitation will be from 4:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M. in the Abbey Church at 850 Butterfield Road, Aurora, Illinois. The Office of the Dead will be prayed at 6:30 P.M. Visitation will continue on Saturday, July 22, from 9:00 A.M. until the Mass of Christian Burial which will be celebrated at 10:30 A.M. Burial will follow in the Marmion Abbey Cemetery.