Father Paul Osterle, SJ, died June 14, 2019, in Opelousas, La. He was 91 years old, a Jesuit for almost 73 years and a priest for 60 years.
A pastoral minister for five decades, Fr. Osterle’s life will be remembered in a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 20 at St. Charles College Chapel in Grand Coteau, La. Visitation will be in the same chapel, beginning at 10:30 a.m. before the funeral. Burial will be in the Jesuit Cemetery at St. Charles College immediately after the funeral Mass.
Paul Osterle was born in Union Town, Penn., on April 5, 1928, to William H. and Margaret Fletcher Osterle. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, J. Fletcher Osterle and William H. Osterle, who was a Jesuit for 39 years. He is survived by his sister-in-law Jean Osterle of Pittsburgh.
He entered the Society of Jesus Aug. 14, 1946, at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Penn. He was ordained a priest at Woodstock College, Woodstock, Md., on June 21, 1959. He pronounced final vows on Aug. 15, 1962, at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia.
Father Osterle spent most of his first 12 years of ministry (1953-65) working in education, serving at the University of Scranton, St. Joseph’s Prep, Bishop’s Latin School in Pittsburgh and at Scranton Prep.
From 1965 to 1968, he was socius (assistant) to the master of novices at Wernersville. During that time, he also served as a chaplain for the Berks County prison and hospital. Perhaps those three years of direct pastoral ministry spoke to him, for in 1973-74 he spent a year at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio, Texas, earning an M.S. in pastoral studies. For the rest of his life he ministered as a pastor, assistant pastor or chaplain of some kind.
Father Osterle was a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, but from his first year in San Antonio, he remained in the former New Orleans Province, now Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province area. He served in diocesan parishes in Austin, Texas, and Ft. Stockton, Texas, and in Jesuit parishes in Miami, Houston, Albuquerque, New Orleans and Tampa. He also was chaplain at University Medical Center in Lafayette, La., for five years.
His active ministry ended in 2012, when he moved to a community for senior Jesuits in New Orleans. He moved with the community to the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau the following year.
Father Osterle earned a master’s degree in education from Woodstock College in Woodstock, Penn., and a master’s in library science from the Catholic University of America. He also earned bachelor’s in theology at Woodstock.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through Fr. Osterle’s life of service to God and God's people.