Fr. Joachim Swarick
It was on January 14, 1924, in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin that Frank Swarick and Kate (née Stublaski) Swarick gave birth to a son. Six days later Frank and Kate had their son, Clarence, baptized at St. Lawrence Church.
Clarence did his elementary education at St. Lawrence Parish Grade School in Wisconsin Rapids. He completed his high school education at Lincoln Public High School in the same town. After graduation he attended the Salvatorian Seminary, St. Nazianz, Wisconsin for one year and then transferred to St. Bonaventure Minor Seminary High School for an additional year. During his high school years, a yearning for the religious life was unfolding. After his year at St. Bonaventure’s, Clarence asked to be admitted to the novitiate of the Assumption of the BVM Province. The friars welcome him at Assumption BVM Monastery, Pulaski, Wisconsin on September 5, 1943, receiving the name, “Joachim.” It was on September 6, 1944 that Joachim made his first profession of vows.
Following simple profession of vows, Joachim began studies at St. Francis College, Burlington, Wisconsin. He professed Solemn Vows there on September 6, 1947 and completed his theological studies at Lourdes Monastery and Seminary, Cedar Lake, Indiana. He was ordained to the priesthood in the monastery chapel on June 14, 1952. There was a mandatory fifth year of study at Cedar Lake before he received his first assignment.
His priestly ministry began as weekend help at nearby parishes while living at St. Anthony Friary, Ben Avon, Pennsylvania. A year later he was assigned to St. Leonard Friary, Saginaw, Michigan as weekend help in various parishes as well as chaplain at the TB Sanitarium. With only a year in Saginaw, Joachim was assigned to St. Mary of the Angels Parish, Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he would be assigned intermittently.
In 1958, Joachim was transferred to Pulaski, Wisconsin, as rector of St. Joseph School for Franciscan Brothers. The Brothers School was a unique educational institution to train and educate high school ages boys who might be interested in the vocation of the lay brother. Because the mission of the school was to prepare the students to be lay brothers, academics were mixed with learning trades. Joachim worked with the young men to determine their interests and talents. Joachim found this assignment very rewarding.
In 1966, after eight years as rector, Joachim was appointed guardian of Queen of Peace Monastery, Lake Geneva and then in 1969, as guardian of St. Mary of the Angels Friary, Green Bay. It was in 1969 that the Province shifted its initial formation program. This caused the administration to assign Joachim to St. Mary of the Angels Friary as guardian and director of the simply professed friars. He also found the ministry at St. Vincent Hospital as chaplain to be fulfilling.
In 1975, Joachim joined the friars at San Damiano Friary, an intentional community, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Joachim broke new ground by joining forces with a Notre Dame Sister at the Milwaukee Alliance of Concerned Citizens. Together they visited neighborhood families helping the poor and needy. He also provided ministerial services to nearby parishes.
After her husband died, Katie Swarick lived alone in Tucson, Arizona. She became ill in 1977. Joachim asked and was granted permission to move to Arizona and care for his aging mother. While there he found ministerial outlets. With his mother’s passing in 1980, Joachim returned to the Midwest. After a brief sabbatical, Joachim once again found himself in Green Bay as guardian of the friar community at St. Mary of the Angels Friary and chaplain at St. Vincent Hospital from 1981 to 1997.
From 1997 to 2002 Joachim offered hospitality to the friars who came to rest and relax at St. John Vianney Home, Campbellsport, Wisconsin. Following this assignment, he ministered for a brief time in Manitowoc and then back to Green Bay as guardian from 2002-2009. With age and limitations, Joachim retired to Assumption Friary, Pulaski in 2009.
Joachim’s health continued to decline as he aged. It became difficult for him to walk as well as take care of his personal needs. In 2018, after discussing his options with his physicians and caregivers, he agreed with the decision to transfer to Queen of Peace Friary, Burlington. As difficult as this move was, Joachim was able to accept this move with grace. But further health complications necessitated his eventual transfer to the Milwaukee Catholic Home. There he settled into a more sedentary life.
But his body could not sustain itself. Fr. James Gannon was called to anoint Joachim on Thursday, March 26, 2020 and commend him to the loving arms of God. Joachim succumbed to Sister Death on Sunday, March 29, 2020. In addition to his parents, Joachim is predeceased in death by his younger brother, Richard and his wife, Florence. We offer condolences to his two nephews, James and Thomas as well as several cousins.
Joachim died in the 96th year of his life and the 76st of his religious profession.
May the soul of Joachim and the souls of all the
Faithful Departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Friends may call at St. Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, 645 S. Irwin Ave. on Friday, June 5, 2020, after 10:00 am until time of Mass. Funeral Mass 11:00 am Friday at the church with Fr. Jim Gannon, OFM officiating. Burial to follow in the Provincial Cemetery, Pulaski. Online condolences may be sent at www.prokowall.com.