Father Christian G. LeFrois, O.S.B., the son of late George and Veronica (Smith) LeFrois, a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, PA, died on January 8, 2004. He was 84 years old. Father Christian was born in Webster, New York, on December 3, 1919. He is one of five children. His brother is Rev. Msgr. Marvin LeFrois of Valdosta, Georgia. His other siblings, Rita LeFrois Conrad, Rev. Vincent LeFrois and Rev. Joseph LeFrois, S.S.J., are deceased.
He attended Holy Rosary Grade School and Aquinas High School, both of which are in Rochester; and he was a 1938 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Saint Vincent College in 1943, and a bachelor of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1946. He received a master of education degree in counseling from Our Lady of the Lake University, Texas, (1972), and did graduate studies in counseling at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1973-1975); and Denver University (1974).
He entered the Benedictine Monastic Community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1940. He made simple profession of vows on July 2, 1941, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1944. He was ordained a priest at Saint Vincent Archabbey Church by the late Hugh C. Boyle, Bishop of Pittsburgh, on June 16, 1946.
Father Christian served the monastic community as a prefect and football coach at Saint Vincent Preparatory School (1943-1946), and as a member of the faculty of Saint Emma Military Academy in Rockcastle, Virginia (1946-1947). He was parochial vicar at Saint Joseph Church, Shamoken, Pennsylvania (1947-1948); Saint Mary Church, Erie, Pennsylvania (1948-1951); and Blessed Sacrament Church, Greensburg, Pennsylvania (1951-1952).
From 1952 to 1973, Father Christian served as a United States Air Force military chaplain. He served at the following bases: Nome Alaska (1952-1954); Sewart Air Force Base, Tennessee (1954-1956); Hickam Air Force Base, Honolulu, Hawaii (1956-1959); Schilling Air Force Base, Salina, Kansas (1959-1961); Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia, where he was chief of procurement and processing of chaplains (1961-1963); Ramstein Air Force Base, Ramstein, Germany (1963-1966); Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi, (1966-1968); Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam (1968-1969); and Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas (1969-1973).
He retired from military service in 1973 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and the following military honors: the United States Army Commendation Medal for extraordinary service to military personnel on radar sites under hazardous conditions, 1953; the Distinguished Unit Award, 1955; Contributor to the outstanding success in troop carrier maneuver in North Carolina and Louisiana, 1955; the Bronze Star for meritorious service while engaged in ground operations against opposing forces in Vietnam, 1970; and the United States Air Force Commendation Ribbon for twenty years of outstanding military service (1973).
After leaving the Air Force, Father Christian served as an instructor in psychology and education at Saint Vincent College (1973-1980); a counselor at Lookout Mountain Detention School for Boys in Golden, Colorado (1974); and a member of the faculty of Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia (1980-1985). At that time he was also administrator of St. Anne’s Church, Richmond Hill, Georgia. He also served mission parishes in Johnson Bayou and Holly Beach, Louisiana (1985-1989). He was parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish, Warner Robins, Georgia (1989-1991) and Saint Johns Parish in Valdosta, Georgia (1991-1993).
In 1993 Father Christian was appointed administrator of Queen of Peace Parish, Lakeland, Georgia, with mission churches in Adel and Nashville, Georgia, as well as two Hispanic Migrant missions in Adel and Twin Lakes, Georgia. He served as administrator of the parish until the onset of illness in the fall of 2003, when he returned to the Archabbey.
He also served as chaplain to the Knights of Columbus in Savannah, Georgia, Johnson Bayou, Louisiana, and in Valdosta, Georgia.
Father Christian’s body will be received at the Elizabeth Roderick Center, Saint Vincent Archabbey, on Sunday, January 11, at 3:00 P.M. Viewing will be held in the parlor of the Elizabeth Roderick Center from 3-5 P.M. and 7-9 P.M. on Sunday, from 3-5 P.M. on Monday. A wake service will be held in Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica at 7:15 P.M. on Monday, January 12 after which Fr. Christian’s body will lie in state in the Basilica until 9 P.M. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica on Tuesday, January 13, at 10:30 A.M.
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.