1913 – 2007 (March 6)
Ralph Vincent Shuhler was born on January 27, 1913, in Salina, Kansas, the son of Joseph Shuhler and Caroline Betz. He was the youngest of ten boys, all of whom preceded him in death. Ralph was baptized on February 16, 1913, in Sacred Heart Church, Salina, before his family moved to Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Here he received his elementary education at Kraussdale Grade School and his secondary education at East Greenville High School between the years 1919 and 1931. He then spent a year as a postulant at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, and became a novice at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., on September 9, 1932. He professed simple vows on September 11, 1933, and began studies at Villanova College, where he obtained a BA in Philosophy in 1937 and where he professed solemn vows on September 11, 1936. He completed his theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1939, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara. He then completed a doctorate in Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, in 1943.
From 1943 to 1959 Father Shuhler was assigned to Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., where he taught Canon Law, and served at times as sub-master and sub-prior. In the General Chapter of the Order in 1959 he was elected as Assistant General, and served in Rome in that capacity until 1965. From 1965 to 1968 he returned to Augustinian College and to the teaching of Canon Law. In 1968 he was assigned to Biscayne College, Miami, FL, first as teacher and then as President. In 1969 he was assigned to Saint Mary's Parish, Waterford, N.Y., where he served as pastor from 1969 to 1971, and as assistant pastor from 1971 to 1982. He then served in Philadelphia, at Saint Augustine Parish, from 1982 to 1986, and at Saint Rita Parish, from 1986 to 1991.
In 1991, at the age of 78, Father Ralph was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, where he lived until his death on Tuesday, March 6, 2007, at the age of 94. Father Ralph Shuhler is remembered as a very knowledgeable teacher of Canon Law, who served the Order and the English-speaking Provinces well as Assistant General. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in civil law from Villanova University.
In 1956, Father Ralph underwent surgery for cancer on his vocal chords, and for the remainder of his life he dealt with this restriction to his speaking in a gracious and exemplary way, continuing to minister, to preach, to teach and to offer counsel in a gentle and compassionate way. At his death, he was survived by 26 nieces and nephews, 36 grand-nieces and nephews, and 9 great grand-nieces and nephews. A funeral Mass was held on March 8 at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, Villanova, after which he was buried at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA.