Brother Lambert Zink, O.S.B.


I had no idea in April of 1958 when Brother Lambert came to work in the library the important role he would eventually play here. I had nothing to do with his appointment. In those days personnel appointments were all made from the top down. I am sure I was not asked to relinquish Brother Xavier McGough, who had helped me for about two years. The shift was simply announced by Brother Lambert showing up and Br. Xavier beginning work elsewhere. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. We won!

I soon learned to appreciate Br. Lambertís sense of responsibility and dedication. Over the years that dedication has evolved into devotion. Br. Lambert is devoted to his role in the library and he carries it out tirelessly. At times he seems driven. There is a fine line between work as an escape and work as a duty. Brother spends countless overtime hours in the library because he is constantly seeing more things that need to be done. Many of those hours are spent trying to make do with less than adequate equipment and materials. He has a sharp eye for cast off materials that he might be able to transform into useful shelving, a cart, a desk, or a prop for our displays. His creativity in providing for the monthly displays is truly remarkable. He puts in countless hours on the displays, but I believe the joy of seeing what he has accomplished lightens the burden.

Br. Lambert is pious. I say pious, not in the sense of folded hands and cocked head, but in the hard gritty sense of giving others their due, God, family, superiors and country. For over 30 years with no fanfare he has hoisted the flag and taken it down again on all the major feasts and holidays of the year. Brother spent time in the service and has a keen sense that our liberties have not come easily. He shows his patriotism without words by his treks to and from the flagpole.

Even though his Father was a hard taskmaster, Brother speaks of him reverently. I believe he knows that he comes by his strengths and some weaknesses honestly. In a special way Brother showed piety in the care of his sister. In her declining months, Brother did everything in the world for her, at a time when she resented his presence. Her attitude was brought on by her failing health and diminishing mobility, but that did not make it any easier for Brother as he did his best to care for her. Few in the community had any idea of all he went through at that time. My admiration for his patient care for her under trying circumstances was unbounded. That I was aware and sympathetic to his position helped us to bond in a way that nothing else in our working together for over 40 years was able to do. I called him weekly throughout that ordeal and visited several times. I know deep down what a trying time that was for him. He showed his mettle by the quality of love and support he showered on his sister. I had always admired his sense of duty. I came to appreciate what tough love is, and how he mellowed in the crucible of pain. Brother is a very pious man.

One story can be a simple indicator of how practical Brother is. He loves wheels. With a small staff, one of whom has a bad back, the task of moving furniture about is a constant challenge. Most of our heavy furniture is now on wheels. I believe it began with the card catalog up in the old library. In case of fire that was the one item we felt we had to save. On wheels it would be no trick to get it out of harmís way. For furniture not on wheels, we have a set of portable wheels that can be put under the item so it can be moved about with considerable ease. Brotherís practical skills in carpentry and ingenuity have been constantly in play. And if he cannot do it, he knows someone in the carpenter shop or machine shop that can. For me as an administrator these skills were a priceless boon.

Brother Lambert has been a partner for me in the library enterprise. As librarian I have gotten the credit in the public forum for much of what has been accomplished. I accept what is my due, but I would ever want it known that much of the good work that has been accomplished in the library is the result of his creative cooperation and dedication. I am officially leaving the library. I take with me though the awareness that I still have a loyal friend and a dedicated brother, Br. Lambert.

Copyright © 2003 Saint Meinrad Archabbey