Normandy cemetary, beach France

Remembering Our Departed Confreres

Fr. Robert John Cornell, O. Praem., U.S. Congressman

Fr. Graham Golden, O. Praem.

Fr. Thomas Albert Hagendorf, O. Praem.

R. Fr. Servatius Heesakkers, O. Praem.

December 16, 1919 to May 10, 2009

 January 8, 1986 to May 21, 2021

 May 20, 1937 to May 18, 2013

 April 30, 1858 to May 7, 1925

House: St. Norbert Abbey

Father Cornell was born on  December 16, 1919, in Gladstone, MI, to Ralph and Veronica (Sullivan) Cornell.  In 1928 the family moved to Green Bay where Robert became a member of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral parish. He attended Cathedral Junior High School and was very active in parish affairs. In 1937 he was named the outstanding Catholic boy of Green Bay.

In June of 1937 Father Cornell graduated from St. Norbert High School, De Pere, WI.  He received a B.A. degree in philosophy and sociology from St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI in June, 1941; was awarded an M.A. degree in history in 1945 and a Ph.D. in history in 1957 – both from Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

Father Cornell entered St. Norbert Abbey where he was vested as a novice on August 28, 1938.  He professed Simple Vows on June 17, 1940, and Solemn Vows on June 17, 1943.  He was ordained to the Priesthood on June 17, 1944.

Academic assignments for Father Cornell include serving on the faculty at St. Norbert High School and later Abbot Pennings High School, De Pere, WI and Southeast Catholic High School, Philadelphia, PA where he was also Vice-Principal.  Father Cornell was a Professor of History and Government at St. Norbert College throughout most of his long teaching career and was the Dean of Students at the college for five years. He also taught history at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and in San Antonio, Texas.

Father Cornell was honored to serve in the United States Congress as the Eighth District Representative from 1975 to 1979. He was only the second Catholic priest to be elected to the U.S. Congress where he was a member of the Education and Labor Committee as well as the Veterans Affairs Committee. He was particularly involved in efforts to reform the welfare system and to get more educational benefits for Vietnam vets. Most of his salary as congressman was used for internships in his Washington office for residents of Northeastern Wisconsin and for student aid at all the schools of higher education in the Eighth Congressional District. In the Sesquicentennial supplement in the Wisconsin diocesan papers in 1998, Father Cornell was included among “45 Who Made a Difference” in the first century and a half of Wisconsin Catholic history.  In 1984 in recognition of Father Cornell’s service in Congress, his contributions to education, and his community activities, the Governor of Wisconsin on the occasion of Cornell’s 65th birthday, proclaimed December 16th Bob Cornell Day in Wisconsin.  He was also included in the list of the “100 most interesting” people in Northeastern Wisconsin published by the Green Bay Press-Gazette in the year 2000.

For about 20 years Father Cornell assisted on weekends at Corpus Christi Church in Sturgeon Bay where he directed activities for the youth of the area, especially rock concerts with nationally famous entertainers. Later he handled country and rock shows in Green Bay with the proceeds being used for scholarships for St. Norbert College students and graduates. In his late years Father Cornell served as chaplain at Nicolet Terrace in De Pere.

Father Cornell is the author of the standard work on the role of Theodore Roosevelt in the great anthracite coal strike of 1902. He has also written his political memoirs (Is There a Priest in the House?) as well as numerous articles on historical and educational topics for encyclopedias and magazines. He co-authored a book on the history of St. Norbert College as part of the Centennial celebration in 1998.

Included among the positions held by Father Cornell are chairman of the Eighth Congressional District of the Democratic Party, member of the State Administrative Committee of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, vice-president of Scholarships, Inc., member of the Board of Trustees of Gallaudet College, and member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Ethics.  He was a founding member of Labor Historians and is listed as a Distinguished Member of the Organization of American Historians.

Father Cornell is survived by the Norbertine Community; a niece, Patti (Cornell) Heil of Centennial, CO; a nephew, William Cornell of Arlington, VA; several cousins; and many “adopted” sons.    His parents and his brother, Paul, preceded him in death.

House: Albuquerque, NM

Reverend Graham Golden, O. Praem., 35, died in an automobile accident on May 21. Fr. Graham was born to Dan and Deborah Golden on January 8, 1986, in Albuquerque. He was a proud graduate of St. Pius X High School (2004) and a magna cum laude graduate of University of New Mexico with a BA in Music and Spanish (2008). He entered the Norbertine Community of Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey in 2008. After his two -year novitiate, he attended Catholic Theological Union and the University of Chicago where he received a Master’s Degree from each school. In 2015 he was ordained a Catholic priest. Fr. Graham entered the Norbertine Community with a desire to serve the poor and marginalized. Already as a seminarian he served as an intern for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The Campaign works to address the plague of the poverty. After ordination, Fr. Graham worked with the Catholic Foundation as a Regional Council Coordinator to assess the needs of rural communities, particularly in Northern New Mexico. Subsequently, he served as associate and then pastor of Our Lady of the Most Holt Rosary Catholic Community (2018), and most recently became pastor of St. Augustine Parish at Isleta Pueblo. Fr. Graham was also the arch diocesan coordinator for the annual Pilgrimage for Vocations. At Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey he had multiple responsibilities: vocation director, formation director for seminarian founder of the Office of Christian Discipleship and Religious Vocation, As well as initiator of the annual Art at the Abbey Exhibition. Fr. Graham was an extraordinarily dedicated, talented, and intelligent young priest. His pastoral heart touched many individuals and groups during the short six years of his priesthood. There is no replacing him. Fr. Graham is survived by his parents, Dan and Deborah Golden, his sister Aiyuan and nephew Qiao Rong, and his Norbertine Brothers and Sisters. A viewing will begin at 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 27, 2021, followed by a Vigil Service at 7:00 pm, both at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 5415 Fortuna Rd. NW, Albuquerque. The Funeral Mass will Also be celebrated at Holy Rosary Church on Friday May 28, 2021, with Abbot Joel Garner, O. Praem., presiding. A reception will follow the Mass in the Parish Hall. Burial will take place privately in the Abbey Cemetery. Services will be livestreamed on the website: Memorial gifts can be contributed to the Norbertine Community (5825 Coors Blvd. SW, Albuquerque, NM 87121) toward the expansion of the Abbey’s retreat center, a project in which Fr. Graham was very involved.


House: St. Norbert Abbey

Reverend Thomas Albert Hagendorf, O. Praem., age 75, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI, passed into God’s eternal kingdom on May 18, 2013.

Father Hagendorf was born on May 20, 1937, in South Philadelphia, PA to Albert and Cecelia (Obrish) Hagendorf.  His home parish was Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Philadelphia, PA.

In 1955, Father Hagendorf was graduated from Southeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia.  In 1960 he received a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Norbert College, De Pere, and an M.A. in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI in 1965.

On August 28, 1955, Fr. Hagendorf entered the Norbertine Novitiate of Daylesford Priory In Paoli, PA where he was vested as a novice.  He professed Simple Vows on August 28, 1957 and professed Solemn Vows on August 28, 1960 at the Church of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI.  He was ordained to the Priesthood on August 29, 1963 by Bishop John Grellinger at St. Norbert Abbey.

He was the Librarian and a member of the Theology department at Archmere Academy from 1964 until 1988, where he also served as the Superior of Immaculate Conception Priory connected to the school.

While on a sabbatical at Berkley, CA in 1989, he served as Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Angels Church in Burlingame, CA and then as Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Baltimore, Maryland.

In May of 2000 Father moved back to St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere where he functioned as Associate Pastor of St. Jude/Annunciation Parishes in Green Bay, WI and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in De Pere, WI.  On August 4, 2003 he was appointed pastor of Holy Cross Parish (Bay Settlement) Green Bay, WI.

House:  St. Norbert Abbey

Our brother Servatius Heesakkers was born in Dinther, Holland in 1858 and vested at Berne Abbey in 1882 and professed there. 

Servatius was chosen by the abbot of Berne to accompany Bernard Pennings to their United States mission in 1893.  That year he was stationed at Delwich with Pennings, and in 1897, he was transferred to Dykesville.  In 1898, he was back in Delwich, and in 1899, back in Dykesville.

In 1899, he was appointed to the new priory in DePere, where he remained for 26 consecutive years.  He died Thursday, May 7, 1925 at the age of 67.