Robert Tasch was born July 21, 1930 in Chicago. When the time came for high school he had thoughts of the priesthood and enrolled in Quigley Preparatory Seminary of the Chicago diocese. During his seminary days he developed a strong interest in and love of the liturgy.
While at the seminary Robert had learned of the liturgical activities of Conception’s Father Bede Scholz. When he learned that Father Bede was giving a retreat in the area he arranged a meeting with him. Father Bede visited with Robert and encouraged him to enroll in Conception Seminary. Another attraction to Conception was Father Patrick Cummins. Robert had taken a class at Quig- ley Seminary on Dante’s Divine Comedy using the translation and commentary of Father Patrick. Consequently when Robert graduated from Quigley Seminary in 1949 he enrolled in Conception Seminary College. After one year in the seminary he entered the novitiate of Conception Abbey in 1950 and made his monastic profession of vows on September 3, l951 receiving the name Hugh. On completing his theological studies he was ordained a priest April 6, 1957.
Father Hugh is a multi-talented person who excels in so many gifts that it is practically impossible to pinpoint his greatest talent. Here is a list of most of his notable talents; organist, teacher, retreat director, liturgist, homilist, original thinker, spiritual counsel- or, student of the bible and with it all a keen sense of humor. His talents have contributed much to the community of Conception Abbey, its seminary and beyond these to the wider church.
One example of serving the wider church occurred shortly after the end of the Second Vatican Council. Father Hugh gave numerous retreats and workshops to religious communities, parishes and schools for the next 15 years or so to help them implement the documents and theology of the Council.
Father Hugh has served the community in many ways. He has been one of the main organists, choirmaster for 13 years, assigned to Conception’s foundations, St. Pius X monastery at Pevely, MO 1961-63 and St. Knud’s Priory in Denmark 1963-65, teacher and spiritual counselor in the seminary 1957-1999, work in the compilation of several editions of the Liturgy of the Hours for the use of Conception Abbey, conducting retreats and workshops in liturgy, Scripture and spirituality.
Father explored his interest in the eremitical life by taking a 6 month sabbatical in 1984 to live at New Camaldoli Hermitage at Big Sur, California. Eight months after this experience he lived in a hermitage on the abbey grounds for one year followed by a 3 year semi-eremitical life as resident chaplain of the Benedictine sisters at Clyde, MO.
After his return to the Abbey from Clyde, health issues restricted his activities to a variety of less demanding work. In 2005 he was appointed chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters at Savannah, MO including some priestly service at their LaVerna Village Home. He enriches the Sisters’ life with his daily homilies and delights them with his wit and humor.