Museum of Contemporary Religious Art

November 12, 2010

In Memoriam: Patrick John Wessel (1985 – 2010)

Filed under: Staff member commentary — Tags: — mocraslu @ 12:59 am

It is with a mix of great sadness and deep fondness that we honor Patrick John Wessel, who died on October 24, 2010.

Patrick John Wessel (1985 - 2010)

Patrick was a 2007 graduate of Saint Louis University. During his undergraduate years he performed some video editing work for several MOCRA exhibitions. Patrick fit right in at MOCRA. He was the youngest of eight Wessel children, all of whom attended SLU. Two of his older brothers worked as gallery assistants at the museum.

Patrick was a delightful young man to work with, brimming with creative energy. His slightly off-beat outlook was expressed in his vintage clothing and his inimitable loping stride. On any number of occasions, as MOCRA’s Director, Terrence Dempsey, and I strolled across campus, one of us would point out Patrick from a hundred yards away. Fr. Dempsey since has remarked that Patrick’s gait simultaneously expressed a laid-back attitude and a clear sense of purpose.

After graduation Patrick made his way to New York City. We knew he had been making inroads into the indie cinema scene, and also getting some attention as a model. Since his death, and especially at the time of his memorial service last Friday (at which over 500 people gathered from all over the country), we have heard many more stories about Patrick’s many adventures and interests. These stories only serve to reinforce what a brilliant and endearing person has departed from our lives.

To Patrick’s loved ones, we extend our heartfelt sympathy. We are grateful for the time we had to share with him.

A fine tribute to Patrick appeared in the blogs of the Riverfront Times, which you can read here.

This “screen test” interview that Patrick gave with a modeling agency also gives a flavor of his wit and generous attitude toward life.

Peace be with you, Patrick.

— David Brinker, Assistant Director


1 Comment »

  1. I am stunned.
    Having been on the Medical Center for the past few years, I feel as though I am a bit removed from my historical roots in FPA and Communication. Just as I was moving to the School of Medicine, I had a chance to collaborate with Gary Seibert on a number of lectures in his class and to work with some very gifted students focusing on video at SLU through SLU-TV and the film festivals. I was delighted to work with Patrick at this time and I found his visual aesthetic and vocabulary quite sophisticated. His understanding of composition and story was enlightened. I also found his self-comfort level extraordinary. So many artistic students seem to feel the need to prove themselves to others. Patrick was more interested in self-exploration – the journey of a true artist. His demeanor and overall attitude was refreshing and an inspiration to those around him.
    I had no idea that he had cancer.
    I had no idea that he would not have a chance to see his impact on the world before he left.
    I had no idea that I would survive him.
    I couldn’t comment when I first read this. I couldn’t think. I mourned and I cried. So much of life is trapped in a dichotomy of the divinely beautiful and the horrifically unjust. Patrick’s untimely death fits this all-too-familiar pattern.
    Rest in Peace, Patrick. I wish that I and so many others had more time to know you.

    Comment by Ted Stahl — November 17, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

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