Jesuit Father Paul V. Osterle, SJ, died on June 14, 2019, at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nursing Facility in Opelousas, Louisiana. He was 91 years old, a Jesuit for almost 73 years and a priest for 60 years.
Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on April 5, 1928, he attended Catholic grammar school and Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. After graduation from high school, he entered the Society on Aug. 14, 1946, at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. Once the two years of novitiate and two of Juniorate studies were completed, Fr. Osterle moved to Woodstock College in Maryland to study philosophy; there he earned an M.A. in education. From 1953 to 1955 he taught sophomores at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, and then attended the Catholic University of America for a year to earn an M.S. in library science. Four years of theology followed at Woodstock, resulting in a B.A. in theology, and priestly ordination on June 21, 1959. Fr. Osterle pronounced final vows at St. Joseph’s Prep on August 15, 1962.
Fr. Osterle’s first twelve years of ministry were primarily 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 to the Master of Novices at Wernersville, but 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 was a pastor, assistant pastor, or chaplain of some kind.
Beginning with that year in San Antonio, Fr. Osterle remained in the New Orleans Province territory, working in diocesan parishes in Austin 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, Louisiana for five years. In 2012 he retired to Ignatius Residence in New Orleans and from there moved with the community to the St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. Within the past year, Fr. Osterle moved eight miles up the road from Grand Coteau to Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Opelousas in order to receive care that the Pavilion was not equipped to give.
Jim Bradley, SJ, superior of the men in the Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion, writes, “Paul was a gifted pastor. Since his death we have heard from people in Austin, Miami, Houston, Albuquerque, Tampa, New Orleans, and even Grand Coteau all telling stories of his gentleness and pastoral care for them and their families. At Ignatius Residence and at Grand Coteau he had frequent visitors from all around the province.”
Fr. Osterle was preceded in death by his father, William H. Osterle, his mother, Margaret Fletcher Osterle, and his brother, J. Fletcher Osterle. He is survived by his sister-in-law Jean Osterle.