Rev. Leon J. Mertensotto, C.S.C.

Oct. 8, 1930-Jan. 7, 2018

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. Leon J. Mertensotto, C.S.C., 87, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., on Jan. 7, 2018.

He was born on Oct. 8, 1930 in New Ulm, to John and Leona Guth Mertensotto. He attended Holy Trinity Catholic grade and high school. He finished his senior year of high school in 1948 at Holy Cross Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind. He was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross on August 15, 1948, and entered Sacred Heart Novitiate in South Bend, Ind.

Fr. Mertensotto took his First Vows on August 16, 1949, and then transferred back to Notre Dame for his college education in philosophy at Moreau Seminary. He took his Final Vows on August 16, 1952, and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1953. He was ordained a Holy Cross Priest on October 28, 1956. Fr. Mertensotto was sent to Rome for his theological studies at the Jesuit Gregorian University, and earned his Master’s license in 1957. Then, to earn his doctorate in theology, he was advised by his Holy Cross Provincial to transfer to the Catholic University under the Dominican auspices in Fribourg, Switzerland. He finished his doctorate in 1961.

Fr. Mertonsotto returned to serve as Prefect and Associate Professor in the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind. He took a brief leave of absence from 1969-1970 during which he traveled to Innsbruck, Austria. He returned to the Theology Department at Notre Dame in 1970, and he continued to teach as an Associate Professor until May of 2012. He was then assigned to Holy Cross House.

Preceding him in death are his parents, John and Leona Mertensotto, his brother Charles, his sister-in-law Arlean, his sister Kathleen Hacker, and his brother-in-law Melvin Hacker. He is survived by his brother Wallace, and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14, at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind., where there will be a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus on Monday, Jan. 15, at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at


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