Chester Jaskulski was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on February 23, 1920 to George and Pauline (Sikora) Jaskulski. He was baptized on February 29, 1920 at St. Mary of the Angels Parish, Green Bay.
Chester began his elementary education at St. Mary of the Angels School where he studied for 6 ½ years. In 1933, his family moved to Pulaski, Wisconsin, where he completed his schooling at Assumption BVM School. In 1934, he entered St. Bonaventure High School and Minor Seminary, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and graduated in 1938.
Chester entered the novitiate of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province, Pulaski, and was invested with the Franciscan habit on August 14, 1938, where he was given the religious name Bronislaus. He made his simple profession on August 15, 1939. After pronouncing his simple vows, Bronislaus moved to St. Francis College, Burlington, Wisconsin, to begin the study of philosophy. He made his solemn profession on August 15, 1942 in the hands of Fr. Richard Plucinski, OFM, at St. Francis.
Bronislaus began his theological studies at Lourdes Seminary, Cedar Lake, Indiana in 1943 where he remained for two years before moving to St. Mary of the Angels Friary, Green Bay, to complete his studies in 1946. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 1946 by Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona in Green Bay.
His first assignment brought Bronislaus back to Assumption BVM Friary where he served as the Director of the Provincial Missionary Union, the Vice Commissary and Secretary of the Secular Franciscans, and the Promoter of Pious Unions.
He entered the ministry of secondary education at St. Bonaventure, teaching history and serving as a secretary to the Rector, Theodore Zaremba, OFM. He requested permission to pursue higher studies at Marquette University where he received an M.A. in Modern European History in 1958. He served as the Bursar of St. Bonaventure High
School for nine years. In addition, he served as Guardian of St. Joseph Friary from 1966 to 1972.
Facing some health issues, Bronislaus requested some time to recuperate at Lourdes Friary in 1972. Following surgery and a need to rest longer than he had anticipated, Bronislaus asked to be relieved of his teaching ministry at St. Bonaventure and to remain at Lourdes Friary. Growing stronger, he began to minister as a chaplain at St. Anthony Nursing Home and St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point, Indiana. He also provided sacramental ministry at numerous parishes within the Diocese. He was the unofficial representative of the Friars at diocesan meetings, retreats, funerals and anniversary celebrations. He was well known and much loved in the Cedar Lake area. Bronislaus presided regularly at the Masses celebrated at the friary chapel.
After 39 years, it was time for another change in his life. In the summer of 2011 the interprovincial novitiate moved from what was then known as San Damiano Friary (previously Stella Maris Friary) to St. Francis Friary, Burlington. The Provincial Council made the decision to demolish Lourdes Friary, the “upper house” and to move the community down to the “lower house”. In September, Bronislaus decided that it was time take a slower pace and to move to Queen of Peace Friary, Burlington, Wisconsin.
In the early days of teaching, Bronislaus was given the nickname of “Tiger” by the students of St. Bonaventure. Small in stature and gentle of demeanor, he was anything but a tiger. He was a life-long sports enthusiast and a die hard “Packer backer”. During his years at Queen of Peace Friary, he was most happy when he could get his hands on a copy of the Chicago Tribune and the Packer game was televised. He remained in touch with family, friends and friars through frequent cards and notes that he sent. He served as confessor and spiritual director to friars at the novitiate. Bronislaus touched the hearts of all those he met.
In February of this year, amidst a spate of flu and pneumonia plaguing the friars at Queen of Peace Friary, Bronislaus was hospitalized because of both ailments. Needing time to recover his health and strength, he was moved to Milwaukee Catholic Home. His health never improved 100% and after a brief stay at Columbia/St. Mary Hospital, he returned to Milwaukee Catholic Home and was placed under hospice care.
Bronislaus died on April 30, 2017, at Milwaukee Catholic Home, Milwaukee, in the 97th year of his life, the 78th year of his religious profession and the 71st year of his priesthood. Survivors include his brother, Fr. Nathan Jaskulski, OFM, nieces and nephews, and the brothers of the Assumption BVM Province. He was preceded in death by two sisters: Theresa Ryba and Cecelia (Frank) Jaskulski; and two brothers: Richard (Dorothy) Jaskulski and Fr. George Jaskulski, OFM.
Visitation will take place at Assumption BVM Church, on May 3, 9:00 to 11:00
a.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Assumption BVM Church at 11:00 a.m. The
burial will be at the Provincial Cemetery in Pulaski, Wisconsin, following the Mass.
May the soul of Bronislaus, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.
_--Written by Andrew Brophy, OFM, Secretary of the Assumption BVM Province.