WEST HARTFORD – Passionist Father Cajetan Bendernagel, 85, a resident of Holy Family Monastery, died on Sept. 12, 2010, at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford after a brief illness.
He was the son of the late Charles Bendernagel and Anna (Kleinschmidt) Bendernagel. He is survived by a brother, Gerard Bendernagel of East Moriches, N.Y.; and three sisters, Lizette Mazza of Lexington, Mass.; Alice Gormley of Jamaica, N.Y.; and Edna Turner of Port Washington, N.Y.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he attended St. Augustine High School there and Holy Cross Prep Seminary in Dunkirk, N.Y. He entered the Passionist novitiate in 1945 and professed vows in 1946 at St. Paul of the Cross Monastery, Pittsburgh. After completing his studies in philosophy and theology at various Passionist monasteries, Father Bendernagel received a Master of Arts degree in theology in 1952.
Bishop James McNulty ordained Father Bendernagel on Feb. 28, 1952, at St. Michael Monastery in Union City, N.J.
Father Bendernagel was assigned to St. Gabriel Monastery in Brighton, Mass., in 1958. He was the vocation director and director of the Confraternity of the Passion from 1958-70. During these years, he was involved with the Crusaders of Fatima and assisted them in creating the shrine to Our Lady of Fatima on the property of St. Gabriel Parish in Brighton. He was the assistant retreat director at St. Gabriel Retreat Center in Brighton from 1962-74 and then retreat director from 1974-77.
Father Bendernagel was assigned to Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center in North Palm Beach in 1978 and ministered for 10 years as a parochial vicar at St. Paul of the Cross Parish there. He also was a parochial vicar at St. Joseph Monastery Parish in Baltimore from 1988-91, during which he was a spiritual director for Catholics who were widowed or divorced.
Father Bendernagel was assigned to Holy Family Monastery in West Hartford in 1992. He worked as a volunteer chaplain at Hartford Hospital in Hartford and resided at the monastery until his death.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Sept. 16 in the Monastery Choir in Jamaica, N.Y.