Brother William Johnson, OMI

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Brother William L. Johnson, OMI, 71, died on Sunday, January 27, 2019, at the Dammert Care Center of The Esquiline Retirement Community at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, Illinois.

Brother Bill (aka B.J.) was born in 1947 to the late John and Margaret (McGregor) Johnson in Littlefork, Minnesota. After his primary and secondary education in International Falls, MN, he joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, pronouncing his first religious vows in 1968. He did university studies at Creighton University in Omaha, NE, and Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX. He also completed an M.A. (1975) and a Ph.D. (1980) in Counselor Education at St. Louis University.

While a student at SLU, he was on the ministry team at Holy Guardian Angels Parish in St. Louis. He spent several years working with prospective future Oblate seminarians in Omaha, NE. In 1986, he began a six-year ministry as Director of Family Programming at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. From 1992 until 2008, he was the Director of King’s House of Retreats in Belleville. He subsequently moved back to the Shrine as Associate Director until a sabbatical year in 2012 and since 2013, worked with the pastoral care department at the Esquiline as much as his health would permit.

Brother Bill was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister, Rhoda Johnson Moone.

Mourning his passing are his brother-in-law, Richard Moone, nephews Rajean and Ronald Moone, several cousins and many good friends, as well as some 3700 Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate serving in 60 countries.

In lieu of flowers, donations for the missions of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate would be greatly appreciated. Concolences may be expressed online at

Visitation: Friends may pay their respects at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville on Thursday, January 31, 2019, from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., there will be a time of prayer and remembrance. Visitation will also be held from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 1, 2019, at the church.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 1, 2019, at the Shrine church.

Burial will be at the St. Henry Oblate Cemetery, Belleville, IL.


4 Comments on Brother William Johnson, OMI

Calista Abel Gingras said : Guest Report Sep 20, 2020 at 7:50 PM

I always enjoyed Brother Bills Sweeney personality when he visited Immaculata Retreat House in Willimantic, Conn. where I worked for over 30 years. He did conferences for us regarding lay ministry. Such a sence of humor. Loved to camp fish and travel. I was in Alaska at same time he was but didn't have chance to see each other. So sorry when he became unable to do the many things he loved. Just found out he died while looking up Oblates I miss since ratting. God Bless him. I'm sure he is Fiona now it's all who loved him that are sad.

  • Chaplin Connecticut
  • CT
Marilyn Vornbaum said : Guest Report Feb 01, 2019 at 2:50 AM

May Brother Bill enjoy eternal happiness, and may God reward him for all of the fine work he did for the Metro East Social Singles.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Eileen (Ruhmann) and Chuck Curran said : Guest Report Jan 30, 2019 at 2:01 PM

Our condolences to all of BJ's extended families. He was my brother's BFF and camping buddy, and came to many of the Ruhmann family functions. Loved his quick wit and dry humor.

  • Waterloo
  • IL
Jude said : Guest Report Jan 29, 2019 at 5:04 PM

So sad to hear about Brother Bill. He was such a great leader at our Kings house retreats. Wish Lil Jude and I would have taken him up on one of his many trout fishing offers. Just a reminder life is short, share with others as much as possible. God rest his giving soul.

  • Ofallon
  • Il

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