Editor's note: this article was published prior to Br. Irenaeus's death on April 29, 2024. May our brother rest in peace!

By Br. Albert Merz, OFM 

There was a celebration – a big celebration – at Quincy Health Care and Senior Center in Quincy, Illinois, on April 9. Our brother, Br. Irenaeus Kimminau, OFM, celebrated the start of his 103rd year on our planet. 

The five friars from Holy Cross Friary in Quincy, our two employees who have been with us since 1991, and a dining room filled with his fellow residents at the Center, gathered to sound off with song and bazookas.  

Br. Irenaeus entered the room with his well-known smile, being pushed in his wheelchair, his arms raised with clenched fists that said: “YES!” Cake, punch, and chatter and “Happy Birthdays” filled the room for the better part of an hour. We had a genuine Franciscan celebration. 

We friars have so much for which to be grateful. Brothers such as Br. Irenaeus are a treasure we are to cherish.  

Until a year and a week ago, he lived independently at Holy Cross Friary. Life changed for Irenaeus on April 3, 2023, six days before his 102nd birthday. He fell and was hospitalized for tests, medical care, and physical therapy.  

Unable to regain the ability to walk, he was admitted to the Quincy Health Care and Senior Center (formerly St. Vincent Nursing Home). He is receiving excellent care, and, as has been the case everywhere he has lived, he is loved by those who have come to know him, especially the nursing home staff. 

He is steadfast, patient, cooperative, cheerful, grateful, loving and loved. There isn’t a single friar, employee at the nursing home or friend that comes to visit him who doesn’t smile with gratitude when his name is mentioned. 

All of us who call ourselves friars have a true brother to celebrate and to follow as our own years move us closer toward the century mark. Thank you, Br. Irenaeus, and be blessed always!

A pair of feet soak in a basin filled with sudsy water

Br. Irenaeus Kimminau, OFM, expresses his excitement upon seeing his birthday cake.  

Five smiling men stand behind a happy man who is seated in front of a birthday cake. He is wearing a festive birthday hat.

Br. Irenaeus Kimminau, OFM, is pictured with his brothers from Holy Cross Friary in Quincy. From left are Brothers Jim Wheeler, OFM, Terry Santiapillai, OFM, John Doctor, OFM, Joe Zimmerman, OFM, and Al Merz, OFM.  

Two smiling woman and a man stand behind a friar wearing a festive birthday hat who is seated in a chair.

Br. Irenaeus Kimminau, OFM, was joined for his birthday celebration by Rosemary Nauber, left, the friars’ cook, Mike Broemmer and his wife Rita Broemmer, the friars’ housekeeper. Both Rosemary and Rita have worked with the friars since 1991.