Joliet Priest Lowell Fischer

Father Lowell Fischer

Originally a Trappist monk, Father Lowell Fischer requested incardination into the Diocese of Joliet in 1962.  Fischer wrote to Bishop Blanchette and explained that he had worked with young boys for the past four years, but that his “extremely active work” caused many “misinterpretations and misunderstandings.”  When Fischer left the monastery, his former abbot cautioned Bishop McNamara to put Fischer under “careful surveillance of a good experienced pastor . . . lest in his naiveté, he might make some serious mishap.”  Over the course of the next few years, Fischer made it well-known that he enjoyed working with youth, and many commented that he had a “winning way” with boys and that although he was reluctant to form close relationships with other priests, he made notable effort to “gain better report with the school boys.”  In 1975 Fischer abruptly resigned from St. Scholastica Parish and announced he was moving to Hawaii and going on “sabbatical” so he would not end up “in bad health or a nervous breakdown.”  A year later, Fischer made clear that he could not return to the Diocese of Joliet because of the “lies, slander, and accusations” against him.  He spent the next eighteen years in Hawaii before returning to Joliet in 1993 under restriction.  Although multiple allegations of abuse involving Fischer came to light, he was not officially removed from ministry until 2002 when a young man came forward and reported that Fischer had not only begun sexually abusing him in 1968, but that he eventually moved to Hawaii with Fischer.  In general, Fischer abused boys in multiple locations, including St. John the Apostle, Holy Ghost, St. Scholastica, and within the Diocese of Honolulu.  When Fischer abused boys, he often referred to the abuse as “sharing.”