Maryknoll’s Father Steven Scherrer, a missioner for 40 years from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, today lives a contemplative and monastic life at the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Misson Center in Ossining. He occupies the hours by preparing biblical sermons that he posts daily on his website – Daily Biblical Sermons – or distributes by email to more than three thousand people around the world.
Born in Craig Field in Selma, Alabama, but relocated to California as a young boy with his family, Father Scherrer’s interests over the years have evolved to focus on missionary, biblical, ascetical and contemplative. These interests characterize his sermons, which he delivers daily in English and Spanish. Working with translators, he also distributes and posts his Sunday sermons in Hindi, Tamil and Urdu, the major languages of India and Pakistan.
Soon after his ordination on May 27, 1972, Father Scherrer was assigned to Maryknoll’s United States Region and completed doctorial studies at Harvard Divinity School, where he received a ThD in New Testament and Christian Origins. During that same year (1979), he received his first Maryknoll overseas assignment to Tanzania.
After studying Swahili, Father Scherrer served as assistant pastor in Sayu Sayu Catholic Church in Shinyanga Diocese. He learned to ride a motorcycle and spent his days on Mass safaris to his mission outstations. During 1981, the Maryknoller was assigned to teach New Testament at the Regional Major Seminary in Dar es Salaam, St. Charles Lwanga Senior Seminary, Segerea.
Upon reading a biography of the French hermit in the Sahara (Father Charles de Foucauld), Father Scherrer had a major conversion experience for a deeper spirituality. He desired, in some way, to follow in Father de Foucauld’s footsteps and accepted a seven-year assignment in the semi-desert region of Northern Kenya to work among nomads in the Turkana of Lodwar Diocese at Lowarengak Catholic Church. Father Scherrer learned their language and also welcomed their assistance to translate the week-day lectionary and missal used in his outstation Masses and in his Small Christian Communities, and which were distributed to all eight parishes in the diocese.
As Father Scherrer’s spiritual interests continued to grow in a monastic direction, he returned to the U.S. and resided for five years at the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration (Carthusian Monastery) in Arlington, Vermont. Following one year of pastoral work among outstations in Alaska, he joined the Trappists at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, from which he was assigned to serve as chaplain to Trappistine Sisters at the Monastery of Our Lady of Coromoto in Humocaro Alto, Venezuela.
From Alabama to California, and then serving his mission life in Alaska, Vermont, Africa and Latin America, the now Westchester-based Father Scherrer continues to share his spiritual interests in multiple languages with people around the globe. Today, he is able to do this more easily through the Internet.