Fr. Hilarion Kistner, OFM

March 27, 1929 - September 21, 2019

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Franciscan Fr. Hilarion Kistner, OFM, whose preaching touched many and whose editorial work inspired thousands, died Sept. 21 at St. Margaret Hall in Cincinnati. He was 90 years old.

A native Cincinnatian, he was Retreat Director and a popular preacher at Friarhurst Retreat Center for 17 years, beginning in 1985. In 2002 he became editor of Sunday Homily Helps for St. Anthony Messenger Press (now Franciscan Media), for 12 years producing a practical, widely used resource for fellow preachers.

Fr. Hilarion was one of six children of Anthony and Hilda (Plogman) Kistner. After graduating from St. Clement School in St. Bernard, he entered St. Francis Seminary (High School) in Mt. Healthy and followed the call to life with the friars. He professed first vows in 1947, solemn vows in 1950, and was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1955 at Holy Family Friary in Oldenburg, Ind.

As a teacher, Fr. Hilarion gave student friars a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. After obtaining graduate degrees from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, he taught Scripture for six years at St. Leonard College School of Theology in Centerville, Ohio, and was Guardian and Master of Clerics for many of those years. He mentored friars in formation as Associate Novice Director from 1978-1985.

For most of his retirement Fr. Hilarion lived at St. Francis Seraph Friary in Over-the-Rhine and assisted at parishes in Greater Cincinnati. He was especially faithful to St. Stephen Parish, where he was known for his down-to-earth preaching and his gentle, pastoral care.

Fr. Hilarion was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Anthony and Edward, and his sister, Mary Nimeskern. He is survived by his sisters, Sr. Amy Kistner, OSF, and Eileen Massarella, as well as nieces and nephews. Friars will receive Fr. Hilarion's body at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at St. Clement Church, 4536 Vine St. in St. Bernard. A Mass of Christian Burial follows at 7 p.m. Memorials in his name may be sent to The Franciscan Friars in care of FriarWorks, 1615 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.


Mary Lou Lehmann - Sep 23, 2019
Sympathy to the Kistner family. WE know Fr. Hilarion is rejoicing with George, Ruth, Agnes and Rosalind and all the other Lehmann's. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Sister Amy Kistner, OSF - Sep 23, 2019
A brother, a friend, a companion to many family gatherings...a good priest.