Father Ermin R. Smith, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, died Friday, January 13, 2006, after a long illness. He was 88 years old. Father Ermin was born in New Germany, Pa., on February 7, 1917, the son of the late Joseph and Margaret (Long) Smith. He was one of twelve children. He was predeceased by six brothers, Vincent, Clement, Cletus, Benno, Thomas and Father Julian Smith, O.S.B., who was also a Benedictine of Saint Vincent Archabbey; and three sisters, Mary Chirdon, Sister M. Basil Smith, R.S.M., and Sister M. Matthew Smith, R.S.M. Surviving are two sisters, Elizabeth Ryan and Helen Smith of Florida.
He attended Wilmore Public Grade School, New Germany, and is a 1937 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Saint Vincent College in 1943, and a master of arts degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1945. He also did graduate study in theology at the University of Notre Dame. Father Ermin entered the Benedictine monastic community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1939. He made simple profession of vows on July 2, 1940, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1943. He was ordained a priest in Saint Vincent Archabbey Church by the late Hugh C. Boyle, Bishop of Pittsburgh, on November 4, 1945.
He served the Archabbey in a variety of positions. He served on the faculty of Saint Emma Military Academy, Belmead, Virginia (1945-1947); was prefect and teacher at Saint Vincent Preparatory School (1947-1948) as well as Saint Vincent Scholasticate (1948-1952). He was vice rector of Saint Vincent Seminary (1952-1955); professor at Saint Vincent College (1960-1966) and professor at Saint Vincent Seminary (1954-1960, 1974-1980), as well as spiritual director at the Seminary (1974-1980). He was socius of clerics (1955-1961) and master of novices (1961-1966) at the Archabbey. From 1967 to 1973 he was stationed at São Bento Priory in Vinhedo, Brazil, serving as novice master and subprior and teaching religion. He was appointed chaplain at Latrobe Area Hospital in 1980, where he served until his retirement in 1999.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica Friday, January 20, 2006. Interment followed at Saint Vincent Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Benedictine Health and Education Fund at Saint Vincent Archabbey, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.