Let Parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence… so said Plato. Words befitting to George and Pauline Jaskulski, the parents of Edward, who was born in Pulaski, Wisconsin, on September 29, 1933 and baptized on October 1, 1933 at Assumption BVM Parish Church, Pulaski, Wisconsin. Edward, the youngest son, attributes his vocation to the influence of his parents, down-to-earth farm folk, close to nature and close to God.
Edward began his elementary education at Assumption BVM School from 1940-48. Following his eighth-grade graduation, he entered St. Bonaventure High School and Minor Seminary, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and graduated in 1951.
Edward entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province, Pulaski, and was invested with the Franciscan habit on August 14, 1951, where he was given the religious name Nathan. It was in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, that he made his simple profession on August 15, 1952. After pronouncing his simple vows, Nathan moved to St. Francis College, Burlington, Wisconsin, to begin the study of philosophy. He made his solemn profession on August 15, 1956 in the hands of Fr. Theophane Kalinowski, OFM, in St. Francis Chapel, Burlington.
Nathan began his theological studies at Christ the King Seminary in 1956, and completed his studies in 1961. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1961 at St. Raymond’s Cathedral by Bishop Martin McNamara, Bishop of Joliet, Illinois.
His first assignment took Nathan to St. Paschal Friary, Toledo, Ohio. For the next 5 years he worked in various parishes in the area.
For the next 47 years Nathan moved from one ministry to another; from one State to another. He was involved in parochial ministry, hospital chaplaincy ministry, Initial Formation, chaplaincy to Religious Sisters and finally the ministry of prayer.
When he wasn’t involved in ministry, you could find Nathan watching a variety of sporting events. Since Pulaski was just 20 minutes from Green Bay, you could only guess at the enthusiasm Nathan had for the Green Bay Packers. He was an avid golfer and a cigar aficionado. A smile would often greet the visitor at his door.
On the occasion of his 25th anniversary of Priesthood, Nathan offered some comments on the impact his ministry as hospital chaplain had on him. He entered this ministry with little experience and left with new insights on living. “The assignment,” he said, “helped me see the more important things in life. It helped me face the reality of death. If you are afraid of death yourself, that comes across to the people you are ministering to.”
Nathan described himself as a simple person, an enabler, one who sees his role as helping people to love God. He tried to be available to people. He was easy to approach because of his gentle nature. Facing significant health issues forced Nathan to move from Queen of Peace Friary, Burlington, Wisconsin and consider becoming a resident of the Milwaukee Catholic Home, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
He continued to struggle with health issues. On Tuesday, September 26th Charlene Duley, Provincial Nurse, and Fr. Carmen Scuderi arrived at Columbia/St. Mary Hospital, to be with Nathan. Charlene described Nathan’s death as a holy moment. With eyes open and a smile on his face, they witnessed Nathan welcomed Sister Death. It was truly a sacred moment. Nathan died on September 26, 2017 in the 83rd year of his life, the 61st year of his religious profession and the 56th year of his priesthood.
In his quiet, unobtrusive manner, Nathan has brought the gospel message to those his ministry has touched over the years. To the flocks he’s tended, he has shared his humanitarian side, his belief in and the need for peace and justice in a world filled with violence and hatred. He was a supporter and propagator of equal rights and favored the underdog. It is not like Nathan to march for and demonstrate against the ills that plague the social order. But that does not mean he hasn’t done his part to make this a better place to live. There is something to be said for the power that gentle folks, like Nathan, exert as they walk softly, seemingly unnoticeably, amidst the chaos of a troubled world.
Survivors include his nieces and nephews, and the brothers of the Assumption BVM Province. He was preceded in death by two sisters: Theresa Ryba and Cecelia (Frank) Gregozeski; and three brothers: Richard (Dorothy) Jaskulski, Fr. George Jaskulski, OFM, and Fr. Bronislaus Jaskulski, OFM. Visitation will take place at Assumption BVM Church, Tuesday, October 3rd. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. The burial will be at the Provincial Cemetery in Pulaski, Wisconsin, following the Mass.
May the soul of Nathan, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.
_--Written by Edward Tlucek, OFM, Secretary of the Assumption BVM Province.