As longtime secretary to Bishop Raphael Fliss, Pat Wildenberg came to revere him — no matter how complicated his legacy grew.continue at Duluth News Trib
"He dealt with difficult situations and I never saw him get outwardly upset with people," she said. "He was very patient about dealing with every situation that he came across."
Bishop Fliss, the longest-serving bishop of the Diocese of Superior, died Sept. 21 in a Duluth hospital at age 84.
Fliss guided the diocese for 28 years, the first six as coadjutor bishop alongside Bishop George Albert Hammes. During Fliss' tenure the diocese went through parish closings and consolidations, and had to adapt to changing needs of the communities it served. He also helped organize the diocese's 75th and 100th anniversary celebrations.
"He truly loved his brother priests," Wildenberg said. "Like a father treats his sons."
The later years of his tenure were marked by controversies over the handling of abuse cases involving priests in the diocese. Fliss led the Superior Diocese until 2007, retiring upon reaching the mandatory age limit of 75.
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki told the Catholic News Service that he remembered Fliss as "a kind and gentle man whose love for the church and the priests, religious, deacons and faithful of his diocese reflected the love and care that Christ calls from each and every one of us."
Reflections on death of Bp. Fliss, longtime leader of Superior Diocese
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