Fr. Philip O. Seher
Teacher, pastor, mentor, counselor, world traveler, personnel director - these are the many roles Fr. Philip Seher has performed in his career as a Catholic priest.
He has been involved with The Summit Country Day School for 25 years, first as chaplain of the Boys Middle School and then as chaplain for the Upper School.
After his retirement from administration as pastor of St. Joseph Churh he has been serving as weekend help to St. Susanna Parish.
Father Seher recently reflected on significant experiences that have shaped his life. One such experience was when he was 12 years old, and his parents moved to Europe. "I am a great believer that children are significantly influenced by the things that happen to them. My father, who spoke French and German, worked for a chemical company. In 1949, after WWII, the company needed someone to help open a European branch of his company. I will always be grateful for his knowing languages because of the great gift it was for me to live in Europe at that time."
"What impressed me was living with children who were affected so much by the war. Some adults would tell me stories about being in prison camps or about the war that they would not even tell my parents."
A second life shaping event was working as Personnel Director for Joseph Bernadine, who was Archbishop of Cincinnati prior to being named Archbishop of Chicago then Cardinal. "He was a man of integrity, yet he always was compassionate. He was not afraid to tackle difficult situations. It was impossible to work with him and not be a good friend of his."
A third life-shaping event was visiting Calcutta and meeting with Mother Teresa, who started over 450 Missions of Charity around the world for the dying and unwanted.
"In my meeting with Mother Teresa, I found a wonderful woman who remained focused on her call, her mission and on her and my God. She lived simply."
"I found the convent to be one of the happiest places that I have been. Throughout the convent, on window sills etc., there would be little notes from her reminding the community what they are about."
Father Seher grew up on the west side of Cincinnati, near Price Hill. He attended Elder High School. His original plan was to become an engineer. However, in his senior year of high school, after he had already registered at the University of Cincinnati to study Engineering, he decided to think about becoming a priest.
"What attracted me? I saw priests having the same values that I had. I saw a way in which I could minister to the deepest needs of people." On February 2nd that year he decided against engineering and instead enrolled at St. Gregory Seminary, located in Mount Washington on Beechmont Avenue, to become a priest. It took him nine years to complete seminary. He then worked at several educational institutions including Elder, Moeller, Mt. Notre Dame, Xavier University, and various seminaries. He also has served as a priest to parishes in suburban, urban and inner city locations.