Fr. Roman - a Life of Commitment
As a young man, Harold Joseph Stadtmueller, who grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and attended St. Vincent’s School, says he was always interested in religious life. At the end of eighth grade, he visited a nearby seminary run by the Society of the Divine Savior, the Salvatorians. He entered the novitiate in September 1947, took the religious name of Roman, and made his first profession the following year.
Fast forward. This past year, Fr. Roman fulfilled his 72nd year of professed life with the USA Province of the Society of the Divine Savior; Fr. Roman Stadtmueller SDS reached a milestone, making him our longest vowed member. Now retired and living in Lewes, Delaware, Fr. Roman has led a busy and full life as a Salvatorian, beginning with his ministry as a professor at Jordan Seminary in Michigan for seven years. The Society then asked him to go to Africa, and he willingly accepted the assignment. He learned the language of the land, Swahili, and spent five years in what is now known as Tanzania. He was a missionary, and when the Benedictines, who started the mission, transferred leadership to the Salvatorians, Fr. Roman became the pastor.
He returned briefly to the USA to teach physics at St. Pius X, a Salvatorian Seminary in Galt, California, before heading back to Tanzania, helping transition a mission in Makanya to a parish. An added challenge was the various languages of the different tribes, but with translator help from the younger villagers, they could manage any communication barriers. He remained there until 1982 except for a brief stint back home to recover from a knee injury. “I always wanted to go to Africa and was thrilled the Society leadership at the time encouraged me to follow my heart,” said Fr. Roman. “I will always cherish and am thankful for my 15 years of ministry in Tanzania.”
Fr. Roman then changed gears, working on obtaining his master’s degree in social work while working full-time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. as a civilian hospital chaplain. He later started commuting to Delaware to counsel people at parishes there and to help out at St. Jude’s.
“Fr. Roman has always had tremendous spirituality,” shared Fr. Glen Willis SDS, a longtime friend, and fellow Salvatorian. “You can hear a pin drop in the congregation when he says Mass. His liturgy style is intense, beautiful, and extremely heartfelt.”
“I have always had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” said Fr. Roman. “One of my biggest joys remains the celebration of my ordination at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.” In retirement, the 92-year-old Fr. Roman continues to share regular Mass with friends from St. Jude’s.