Franciscan image
Home
Franciscan image
Francis of Assisi Franciscan Resources The Order -- Rome The Friars -- USA Contact Us  
Vocations Prayer Requests Franciscan Poetry Favorite Sites Peace & Justice Our Guestbook

  The Order
  General Curia
  Official Documents
Letters to the Order
Provinces
Italy
_____________
Sicily
_____________
Croatia
_____________
Sweden
_____________
Spain
_____________
France
_____________
India
_____________
Brazil
_____________
  Bangladesh
_____________
South Africa
_____________
Mexico
_____________
Paraguay
_____________
Sri Lanka
_____________
Immaculate Conception Province, USA
_____________
GENERAL..imagesblu_gry.gif (541 bytes) Sacred Heart
Province, USA

_____________
TOR & The Irish Connection
Communications
T.O.R. Nuns
Information Updates
Death Notifications
Directory
Secular Franciscans
Basilica
Rule
History of the Order
Chronology / Order
What is a TOR Friar
Franciscan TOR Publications
 
 

 
 
Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, USA

The history of the two provinces in the United States, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Conception of Mary, are two uniquely "American" expressions of this Franciscan tertiary spirit and commitment.

Loretto.jpeg (34732 bytes) sacred_heart.jpg (5699 bytes)

(By: Fr. Michael J. Higgins, TOR)
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Province, USA

INTRODUCTION:

Throughout the history of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis a common unifying theme can be seen in the importance placed on service to the people of God. The brothers and sisters of the Third Order, as Fr. Lino Temperini points out so well in his various contributions to this volume, have always been guided by their individual and collective awareness of the needs of the Church and formed by their willingness to respond to those needs. From the earliest recorded experiences of the "regular" branch of the Third Order, the sisters and brothers have worked in hospitals and hospices, educational institutions of various kinds, in spiritual direction and in any number of other areas in which people were in need of prayerful and loving service

The history of the two provinces in the United States, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Conception of Mary, are two uniquely "American" expressions of this Franciscan tertiary spirit and commitment. Both provinces were born out of a genuine and prayerful desire to be of service to the people of God, and both continue to struggle be responsive to the ever-changing needs of the Church in the United States.

Irish Foundation in the United States

The history of the Third Order Regular in Ireland dates back to the later part of the 14th and early part of the 15th centuries. These tertiary communities were small communities of clerical and lay friars who supported themselves by manual labor, farming the fields around their friaries and through educational apostolates to the working class and poor Irish families. Patrick Quinn points out that

. . . the curriculum of these schools would have focused on native learning - the grammar, poetry, histories and sagas of Gaelic Ireland, as well as the genealogies of important families. 1

There is some evidence that, at least in some of these foundations, the brothers worked side by side with tertiary women, "living in separate buildings of the same friary." 2  It is important to note that this apostolate to the poorer people in the outlying areas of Ireland seems to be a conscious decision on the part of these Third Order communities. Rather than teach Latin, rhetoric, philosophy and theology to the children of the rich and privileged, they taught practical courses in farming, the native Gaelic language, and basic catechesis. Franciscan minority and a love for the weakest members of society seem to have been a prevalent charism. Bonaventure Kiley, who for many years served as provincial archivist with a great deal of expertise and dedication, points out that at one time there were in Ireland "some fifty houses of the Regular Tertiaries besides the numerous groupings of the men and women of the Third Order Secular." 3

Page 244 footnotes:
1 Patrick Quinn,TOR, "The Third Order Regular of St. Francis in Ireland,"
Analecta TOR (Vol. XXIV, 153, 1993), p. 253.
2 Quinn, p. 254.
3 Bonaventure Kiley, TOR, "The Loretto Franciscans," in Bicentennial History of Loretto, Pennsylvania: 1976, ed. by Joseph J. Bentivegna, Ebensburg, PA: Damian Printing Co., 1976, p. 95.


page 245

Unfortunately, history was not kind to the Third Order Regular in Ireland. The Reformation of the 16th century was particularly brutal for the Franciscan family in the British Isles. Many friars lost their lives, monasteries and convents were pillaged, burnt and destroyed and the practice of religious life was outlawed. The Third Order Regular, which flourished so well on Irish soil, was uprooted and destroyed. According to some historians the Order was able to survive until the early part of the 18th century, when the last friary "passed into the hands of the First Order." 4  Some stories, now considered to be apocryphal, recount how friars clandestinely continued to live their religious life in hiding and provided a living bridge with the ancient communities in Ireland.

In the beginning of the 1800s, the Third Order Regular was once again established in Ireland.

It began again at Merchant's Quay with a group of zealous men from the secular tertiaries at the Friar's Minor church of Adam and Eve. The first Third Order Regular friary was established in May of 1820 in Milltown, with the second being opened in September of that same year at Dalkey. 5

Also around the year 1820, a Franciscan community of brothers was founded in the Archdiocese of Tuam in Ireland 6 in order to work with youth in education. This diocesan group, which at first was under the jurisdiction of the OFM Observants, adopted the Rule of the Third Order Regular and was formed into a diocesan community under the Bishop of Tuam. The apostolate of this tertiary community, which included houses in Dalkey and Mt. Bellew, was very much like the apostolate of the first Third Order friars in Ireland. "In addition to teaching school they farmed the land that by their labor they might be self-supporting and the poor would not be denied an education." 7 The community grew and established religious houses in a number of towns, including Roundstone and Clifton. Once again the tertiary charism of minority and service to the poor was a guiding force in the community. "The spirit of Francis once again inspired men and women to respond to the concrete ministerial needs of the local church ... " 8

Due to the poor economic condition of Ireland in the middle part of the 19th century, a condition exacerbated by the potato famine and the immigration of thousands of Irish to the United States, the friars were forced to look to other countries for financial support for their apostolic work. There was also a desire to help those suffering the effects of the famine in Ireland. Thus in 1846 three Irish brothers left Dublin for the United States, settling in Louisville, Kentucky, where they set up a school. Unfortunately, "sickness plagued the Brothers and the school was closed little more than a year later." 9  In 1847 another group of brothers journeyed to the US and settled in Loretto, Pennsylvania, in October of the same year. Loretto was at the time a part of the Pittsburgh Diocese.

The brothers settled in Loretto in response to a request from the bishop of Pittsburgh, Bishop Michael O'Connor, who was in need of a religious community to work in the educational apostolate

page 245 footnotes:
4 Quinn, p. 260.
5 Quinn, p. 262.
6 John P.M, Doyle, TOR. (compiler) History of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance. Unpublished Manuscript, Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1947.
7 Kiley, p. 95.
8 Quinn, p. 263.
9 Kiley, p. 95.


Page 246

of the diocese. Loretto was chosen as the site for the new establishment because it included a parish school in need of teachers (established in 1800 by Prince Demetrius Gallizin), land available for farming and cultivation, and the possibility for expansion. Along with the incredible tasks of expanding the school, establishing a religious community in the town, and preparing the land for crops, the brothers were also involved in fund raising for the starving people in Western Ireland.

In 1848 the superior of the brothers, "Brother Giles, along with a number of the brothers, were to draw up a rule of government and write a petition to be sent to Rome enabling the Brothers to pass from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Tuam, Ireland, to that of the Bishop of Pittsburgh." 10 In the same year the foundation for St. Francis Academy, which would eventually become St. Francis College, was begun with Bishop O'Connor officiating at the ceremony which laid the cornerstone.

Other establishments in Pennsylvania included St. Paul's School and St. Peter's School in Pittsburgh, a farm and school for boys in New Bedford, and an orphanage in Cameron's Bottom (a little town not far from Loretto). As the school in Loretto expanded, these other apostolates were gradually turned over to others or abandoned. According to a census taken in 1850 there were twenty-three brothers stationed in Loretto: twenty-one from Ireland, one from Belgium and one from England. "Ten of the brothers listed their profession as teachers and the remainder were occupied in various jobs such as farmers, carpenters, shoemaker or tailor. " 11

Also in 1858 the bishop of Brooklyn in New York, Bishop John Laughlin, invited the brothers into the diocese again to work in the educational apostolate.

This was done and the community increased until 1900 it had 125 professed Brothers working in the cause of Christian education. They had charge of fourteen parish schools for boys, a college, two high schools, and a novitiate house situated at Centerport, Long Island. 12

In the early part of the 1880's the bishop of the Diocese of St. Paul in Minnesota, Bishop John Ireland, approached the brothers with the same request that his two brother bishops in Pittsburgh and Brooklyn had made years before. He too had a need for a solid community of religious to work in the educational apostolate of the diocese. Once again the brothers responded to the request of the bishop and the need of the Church in the US. "In or about 1882 ... the Brooklyn brothers opened a school for Indian boys at Clontarf. ... From it sprang the community of Spalding, Nebraska, in the diocese of Omaha. " 13 Through much sacrifice and hard work the brothers managed to keep the school in Clontarf running as a viable apostolate. However,

in 1894 they were forced to close the institution. Up to that time the Federal Government had paid for the education of the Indian boys, but when this subsidy was withdrawn, they could not carry on. 14 

page 246 footnotes:
10 Kiley, p. 97
11 Kiley, p. 99
12 Doyle p. 59
13 Doyle p.59
14 Doyle p. 59


Page 247

Under the guidance of Bro. Joseph Fielding, the brothers moved from Minnesota and established a school for boys in Spalding, Nebraska. Although this community was never very large, having a maximum of seven religious, their hard work and dedication laid the foundation of a successful apostolate.

By the turn of the century there were three main groups of Irish brothers working in the United States: Loretto, Brooklyn and Spalding. Each of these communities was connected with the community in Ireland, actively involved in the education of boys, and under the jurisdiction of their local diocesan bishops.

Union with the Third Order Regular

As their ministry in the United States continued the brothers were increasingly faced with the need for a stronger connection with the Franciscan family. Part of this need arose from the fact that at least some of the priests that were appointed by the bishops to look after the sacramental needs of the brothers were ignorant about religious life, which at times occasioned misunderstanding and resentment. Another aspect arose from the desire of some of the brothers to pursue study for ordained ministry in the Church. To do this they were forced to either leave their communities and join another or find a diocese. Lastly, the brothers saw the benefit in having ordained members in the communities to help in the overall ministry to the boys in their schools.

The first of the communities to petition for union with the Third Order Regular was the community in Brooklyn. Under the direction of Bros. Raphael Breheny and Linus Lynch, who at first tried to reorganize the community under the authority of the bishop, an official request was made in 1906 to the General, Most Rev. Angelo deMattia. However, the bishop of Brooklyn was against the proposed union and actively worked to block it. As a result, "the question of the incorporation of the Brooklyn community in the Order was consigned to the archives......" 15

On November 20th of the same year the movement for union continued with the Spalding community sending its request for incorporation to the general, Fr. DeMattia.

The Bishop of Omaha, the Most Reverend Richard Scannell, wrote a letter giving his consent and the Very Reverend Bernard Galvin, parish priest of Spalding, also sent a letter in which he praised the movement. On December 8, 1906, the Father General signed the decree of union of the Spalding community with the Order and petitioned Pope Pius X, January 12, 1907, to grant faculties to establish the Third Order Regular in the diocese of Omaha and to receive the solemn profession of the religious there who had completed the third year of simple vows. On the 12th of January the favor was granted. For the execution of the Venerable Rescript the Father General sent the Very Reverend Stanislaus Dujmovic, definitor general from the province of Dalmatia, to America accompanied by Father Catalini of the Umbro Picena province. 16

The papal approbation of the union, with the blessing of Pope Pius X, was officially dated November 29, 1907.

Page 247  footnotes:
15 Doyle, p. 61.
16 Doyle, p. 62.


Page 248

After the union of the Spalding brothers with the Order was approved, the brothers in Brooklyn who felt a strong desire to be part of the incorporation left New York in the spring of 1907 and joined their fellow friars in Nebraska. Apparently the first to leave was Bro. Raphael Breheny, who for many years had worked for the union of the Brooklyn community with the Order. Following his lead,

At the end of the month of July, some twenty-three brothers left Brooklyn and under the direction of Brother Linus took their way to Spalding where they arrived in good time and were received by Brother William Osbelt, the superior of the house, Father Stanislaus Dujmovic, the General Delegate, and Brother Raphael Breheny. 17

The Spalding community, now officially part of the Order, increased to 30 friars. "Relying heavily on the teaching abilities of the Brothers from Brooklyn, the fraternity opened Spalding College with fifty boys in January of 1908. " 18

The last community to apply for incorporation into the Order was the fraternity in Loretto. On December 29, 1907, and with the approval of Bishop Eugene A. Garvey, the bishop of Altoona 19, the brothers petitioned Rome for union. The union was supported by the General who then approached the Holy See for the necessary permissions. On May 22, 1908, the Holy Father, Pope Pius X, approved the incorporation of the Loretto brothers with the Third Order Regular and the General was given the required faculties to oversee the process. Further permission was given to accept into Solemn Vows those brothers who had completed three years in Simple Vows and to open a house of novitiate in Loretto. The General and the General Curia "affected the union on May 28, 1908". 20

To oversee the union of the Loretto fraternity with the Order, the General appointed as his delegate Fr. Jerome Zazzara, a doctor in Sacred Theology, and Fr. Anthony Balestieri as Novice Master. Bro. Raphael Breheny, along with three other friars from Spalding, also traveled to Loretto to help with the incorporation. As a result of the union, the Order in the United States swelled to fifty-four friars with twenty-eight in Spalding and twenty-six in Loretto.

When the Spalding and Loretto communities joined the Third Order Regular, several of the Brothers immediately began studies for the priesthood. Victor Brown studied in Rome and was the first American ordained as a priest of the Third Order Regular on July 14, 1910. Angelus Laughlin and Leopold Campion were ordained in Loretto on July 25, 1910, and Linus Lynch and Raphael Breheny were ordained in Spalding on August 10, 1910. 21

At the request of Bishop Garvey, Fr. Jerome in November of 1909 accepted St. Anthony Parish in Johnstown as a permanent apostolate of the friars and Fr. Anthony Balestieri was appointed Pastor. "The significance of St. Anthony's is that it became the third house of the friars in America


Page 248 footnotes:
17 Doyle, p. 62.
18Thomas Matts, "The Franciscans in Loretto 1900 - 1925, in Bicentenial History of Loretto, Pennsylvania, 1976, ed. by Joseph J. Bentivegna, Ebensburg, PA: Damian Printing Co., 1976, p. 130.
19 A diocese which was at first part of the Pittsburgh diocese.
20 Matts, p. 130.
21 Matts, P. 131.


Page 249

and this satisfied a requirement for the formation of an autonomous American province. 22 In December of 1909 Fr. Jerome also accepted the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Altoona from the bishop and himself took on the role of pastor. Both of the parishes had large immigrant Italian populations and the presence of Frs. Jerome and Anthony was a true blessing to the diocese which was trying to meet the needs of these parishioners.

On July 20, 1910, Fr. Angelo deMattia, the Minster General through the whole process of the various attempts at union, requested the Holy See to approve the establishment of an autonomous province in the United States. The petition was granted by the Sacred Congregation of Religious on August 2, 1910, the Feast of the Portiuncula. The new American province was officially erected on September 25, 1910, and was commended to the patronage of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The General appointed the following friars to guide the newly established province:

V. Reverend Jerome Zazzara - Provincial
Brother William Osbelt - Custos Provincial
Reverend Rapheal Breheny - 1st Definitor
Brother Angelus Laughlin - 2nd Definitor
Brother Leopold Campion - 3rd Definitor
Brother Aloysius Gilmartin - 4th Definitor

The province at this time was involved in the teaching apostolates in Spalding and Loretto and the two parishes in Johnstown and Altoona. It is significant to note that right from the beginning of the new American province there was a presence both in the educational and in the parochial apostolates. As the Third Order had done for the centuries, the friars in the United States were striving to meet the needs of the their local church. However, this diversity of apostolates also caused tension in the newly-formed provincial structure.

The early years of the province were important in that they helped consolidate the identity of the Order in the hearts and minds of the friars. There was also a an important shift in the community from a diocesan congregation made up of brothers into what would eventually become a predominantly clerical province. These years also saw the expansion of St. Francis College and the introduction of seminary courses for the friars and, somewhat later, for the diocese.

The first classes in theology were offered in 1910 and were taught by Frs. Jerome Zazzara, Anthony Balestieri, and John P.M. Doyle, who had recently joined the community.

By 1911 a full course of studies in theology was set up and cycle courses were offered. In September, 1912, Bishop Garvey of Altoona sent the seminarians of his diocese to Saint Francis for their theological studies, and this marks the official birth of Saint Francis Seminary. The academic year 1912-13 opened with twenty-two students in theology. 23

Page 249 footnotes:
22 Matts, p. 131.
23 Matts, p. 132.


Page 250

St. Francis Seminary continued to provide a solid theological training for the friars, and for a number of dioceses, until the 1978-79 academic year. Trinity College in Sioux City, Iowa, was also founded during the early period of the province. Fr. Jerome Zazzara proved to be an able administrator and zealous priest throughout these developments.

In the first election in Sacred Heart Province, held during the General Visitation in June and July of 1913, and presided over by the General, Fr. Pius Dujmovic, Fr. Raphael Breheny was elected Provincial.

His council was composed of Fathers Angelus Laughlin, Linus Lynch, Victor Brown and John P.M. Doyle. Father Jerome Zazzara was elected Custos of the province. 24

Unfortunately ill health forced Fr. Raphael to resign after three years of his five-year term and Fr. Francis Smyth took over provincial responsibilities until the new chapter in 1918.

Division and the Birth of the
Immaculate Conception Province

The chapter of 1918 proved to be a very stormy affair and laid the groundwork for what would eventually cause a split in the province and the establishment of a new American province. Since the General could not be present for the chapter, Fr. Victor Brown was appointed as the General's delegate and presided over the proceedings. Fr. Victor decided that, since the Italian friars were still officially members of their respective provinces in Italy, they could not have passive voice in the chapter. These friars, along with some of the vocals at the chapter, refused to accept the election of Fr. Louis Donahue as provincial. As a result, the chapter ended with Fr. Louis claiming the title of Minister Provincial and Fr. Francis Smyth holding on to his title as Commissary Provincial.

The matter was carried to Rome and the Sacred Congregation decreed that for the sake of peace in the province a new chapter should be held under the presidency of a friar from another province. (July 1, 1919) The same Sacred Congregation directed that the Italian Fathers should formally declare their intention to be incorporated in the province of the Sacred Heart in America and be excardinated from their provinces in Italy. 25

Father Arnaldo Rigo, who was later elected Minister General, was appointed as the General's delegate and president of the chapter that was held in the convent of the Most Blessed Trinity in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1919. Fr. Louis was once again elected as provincial. However, as a result of deepseated dissatisfaction, a petition was made by the Italian friars, along with a number of supporters, for the establishment of a separate commissariat. After the petition was voted upon and approved by the chapter, Fr. Arnaldo returned to Rome and presented the request to the General.

It was discussed in the General Curia and approved, and a petition was presented to the Sacred Congregation of Religious which on January 22, 1920, authorized the Father General to erect the Commissariat and to name the Commissary, having first received the consultative vote of all the friars. 26

Page 250 footnotes:
24 Doyle, Appendix, p. 1.
25 Doyle, p. 64.
26 Doyle, p. 64.


Page 251

On March 25, 1920, the General erected the new American commissariat. The commissary at first numbered twelve friars, including Fr. Jerome Zazzara, who was appointed Commissary Provincial, and houses in Johnstown and Altoona. The commissariat was given the status of province by the General, Fr. Dujmovic, on August, 25, 1925. At this time it consisted of thirteen friars (five Italians and eight Americans) and included houses in Johnstown, Altoona, Barnesboro and Hollidaysburg. Fr. Jerome Zazzara was elected as the first provincial of the new American province dedicated to Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Anyone who has had the pleasure and challenge of being a part of a provincial chapter can readily imagine the forces that were at work in the chapters of 1918 and 1919, and which led to the division of a relatively new province. From the perspective of the 1990's it's tempting to try to assess the various dynamics that were at work in these confrontations. It's also easy to try to place the blame on one side or the other with an attempt to identify those friars or influences that caused the split. However, in the final analysis, this kind of investigation into the past is not very helpful. The facts seem to point to two groups of friars both of which were deeply convinced of the rightness of their position. As with anything else, the situation has to be judged on what it produced. In this case, the events of 1918 to 1925 produced two American provinces which were both interested in serving the needs of the people of the people of God and the local church.

Growth and Expansion

After the establishment of the Commissariat of the Immaculate Conception in 1920, Fr. Louis Donahue worked towards a consolidation of the now smaller province, the houses were "reduced to three by the formation of the Commissariat." 27 He was also instrumental in inviting friars from the Spanish province to accept mission work in Waco, Texas, a move which would eventually lead to the establishment of a permanent TOR presence in Texas and Mexico. St. Francis College received its official charter as a school of higher education during the tenure of Fr. Louis on December 19, 1920. Fr. Benedict English, then president of the college, considered the charter to be the high-point of his work at the institution. "The charter sparked an immediate rise in the enrollment ... as well as the expansion of the curriculum and the faculty. " 28

Succeeding Fr. Louis as Minister Provincial in 1924 was Fr. John P.M. Doyle, one of the most notable friars in the history of Sacred Heart Province. John Patrick Mary Doyle was born in Ireland but he was raised in Brooklyn, New York, where his family had settled in 1881. He attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn, an institution staffed by the Irish Franciscan brothers, and he graduated in 1897 with high honors. After graduation he applied to, and was accepted in, the Diocese of Brooklyn as a candidate for the priesthood. John was sent to Rome where he completed his theological studies at the North American College and was ordained in 1901. Fr. Doyle's first assignment was a post of assistant pastor. Shortly after, however, he was allowed to accept the chair of philosophy at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn. For two years he also served as chaplain of that institution. In 1907 he returned to parish ministry. 29

Apparently Fr. Doyle was a close friend of both Bro. Linus and Bro. Raphael during their time together in Brooklyn and was an ardent supporter of the union of the community with the Third Order Regular. After giving the matter much prayerful consideration, and after receiving the necessary permissions from his bishop, Fr. Doyle traveled to Loretto in 1910 where he was accepted into the novitiate.

Page 251 footnotes
27 Doyle, Appendix, p. 2.
28 Matts, p. 136.
29 Matts, p. 131.


Page 252

Father Doyle's coming to Loretto was an asset in many ways. As an educator he contributed his scholarship in theology and philosophy to the development of these areas in the curriculum of Saint Francis College. He was later to hold all the major administrative posts of the College, as well as serving the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in several major capacities. He held the office of Minister Provincial for a thirteen year tenure and served as Novice Master for many years. 30

Fr. Doyle's term as provincial proved to be very important and formative for the province. St. Francis Seminary, which he had helped establish with Fr. Jerome and Fr. Anthony, grew to eighty-five students and the curriculum was expanded. During his provincialate, he continued to act as Rector of the Seminary and taught courses in theology and philosophy. Due to the increased need for staffing at the expanding St. Francis College, Trinity College in Sioux City, Iowa, was closed in 1932 and the friars transferred to Loretto. "Fr. Doyle was able to bring back to Loretto the sum of $50,000, a substantial amount in those days, for the continuance of the work of the Sacred Heart Province." 31 During his tenure he oversaw the building of Schwab Hall at St. Francis College, named after the illustrious businessman, alumnus, and benefactor, Charles M. Schwab. He also saw the erection of Doyle Hall, financed by the Alumni on the occasion of his silver jubilee, and Raymond Hall in which he housed the novitiate; he also had the entire front of the Main building renewed and beautified ... 32

In 1929 Fr. Doyle also accepted St. Wilfred Parish in Woonsocket, South Dakota, and the parish of St. Ann in Geddes as apostolates of the province, both located in the Diocese of Sioux City. In the midst of all his other duties he found time to write and publish four books, two each on theology and philosophy, translate into English the Rule and Constitutions of Third Order Regular Rule, publish the Ceremonial of the Order, and write a number of articles on the history of the Order. He was instrumental in establishing yearly retreats for priests, in the foundation of a layman's retreat league in the early twenties, and in the establishment of the Secular Franciscan Order in Pennsylvania.

Fr. Doyle left the office of Provincial in 1937 with the province in very good condition. Both St. Francis College and Seminary had expanded during his tenure and both were financially sound. The province had accepted more parochial work and was making a welcomed contribution to the spiritual well-being of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese.

In May of 1937 Fr. Eugene T. George was elected to the office of Minister Provincial. Fr. Doyle continued in the new provincial administration as Custos and Frs. John Sullivan, Paul Veigle, William Hagerty and Edward Caraher were elected as Definitors.

Fr. Eugene, along with the able assistance of Fr. Bernard Cuskelly, established a house of advanced studies for the Province in Washington, DC. "The Most Reverend Michael J. Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore, gave his consent to the foundation of the house of studies in his letter of

Page 252 footnotes:
30 Matts, pp. 131-132.
31 Blase Dixon, "The Loretto Franciscans 1925 - 1976, " in Bicentennial History of Loretto, Pennsylvania, 1976, ed. by Joseph J. Bentivegna, Ebensburg, PA: Damin Printing Co., 1976, p. 146.
32 Doyle, Appendix, p. 3.


Page 253

June 17, 1937... 33 The house was first located on Manchester Lane, but was later moved to a piece of property purchased from the Benedictines at 4715 Sargent Road. The establishment of the house in Washington, DC, provided a site where students who had graduated from St. Francis Seminary could pursue post graduate degrees at Catholic University and take advantage of other educational opportunities available in the nation's capital.

One of the most important events during the tenure of Fr. Eugene was the establishment of the mission to India. In 1937 Fr. Giovanni Parisi, then Minister Provincial, expressed a desire that the Order be more actively involved in foreign missions. Fr. Giovanni went so far as to write an article for the Analecta "deploring the fact that there were no foreign missions manned by Third Order Franciscans" 34 The provincial responded to the General's challenge and offered the services of the province in behalf of the mission endeavor. The Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, in consultation with the general, appointed part of the mission field of Patna, India, "amongst the Santal Paraganas, lying to the north of the Ganges river and south of Nepal" to the province. 35 A number of friars responded to the provincial's request for volunteers for the mission in India and eventually four were chosen as the first group to travel to Patna. These included Frs. William Schreder, Gabriel Stephens, Aquinas T. Lieb, and Bro. Ivan Manganello. This initial group, accompanied by the provincial, traveled to Rome in September of 1938 and then on to India in November of the same year. The first Mass was celebrated in Bhagalpur on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, just two days after the friars reached India. Two years later, a second group of friars left Los Angeles by ship on January 4, 1940, and arrived in New Delhi in February.

The first mission station turned over to the Franciscans was at Bhagalpur, a city of some 85,000 souls on the banks of the famed Ganges River. This was to be the headquarters of mission activity and the spring-board for moves into the Santal Paraganas. The mission effort was blessed by God and on February 19, 1940, eight more friars arrived from Loretto to continue the great work already begun. 36

These friars were: Patrick Boland, Martin Brodhead, Maurice Buckley, William Frank, Robert Herzer, Urban McGarry, Mark Santucci, and Hugh Schleif. Of this group, all were still seminarians (in theology) except Mark Santucci. Several were ordained in 1941 and the remainder the next year all in India. While in India Fr. Eugene also founded the mission magazine The Call of India as a vehicle for communication and fund raising.

This mission has proved to be a very successful endeavor for the province and Order. The dedication and zeal of the friars laid the foundation for what would eventually become the autonomous Province of St. Thomas the Apostle, established in 1971 by the General, Fr. Louis Secondo. It has also given to the church a bishop, Bishop Urban McGarry. On May 10, 1965 he was ordained as the first bishop of Bhagalpur, India, where (as of this writing in July of 1993) he still resides.

While Fr. Eugene was in India, Fr. Doyle once again took over the leadership of the province. Two new houses of the province were opened in the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina: St. Egbert in Morehead City and St. Catherine in Tarboro, both parish apostolates.

Page 253 footnotes:
33 Doyle, Appendix, p. 3.
34 Dixon, p. 150.
35 Doyle, Appendix, p. 4.
36 Dixon, p. 151.


Destruction and Rebuilding

Fr. Eugene George was succeeded in office by Fr. Benedict Determann in 1940, who served in the capacity of Minister Provincial for five years. Fr. Benedict's term was served during the years of the Second World War, which made communication with the Order in Rome very difficult and at times all but impossible.

The war itself was bad enough but Mussolini further complicated matters by allying himself with Hitler's Germany changing the status of Italy from that of friendly nation in World War I to that of an enemy nation in World War II. 37

Fr. Benedict and the province were thus left cut off from Rome and on their own during this five year period.

Fr. Benedict was faced with the greatest disaster in the province's history. On the morning of Friday October, 30, 1942, Old Main on the campus of St. Francis College was destroyed by fire. This building, which had been gradually expanded since its foundation in 1848, contained the chapel, monastery, seminary, dormitory, library, kitchen and food supplies. All were destroyed by the fire which, according to published reports of the time, was of "undetermined origin. " Thanks to an early alarm given by Bro. Joseph Fielding (who had risen early to say his morning prayers) the approximately 125 priests, seminarians, teachers and students asleep in the building when the fire started, fled to safety."38 Five friars, including Frs. Bernardine Dillon, Benedict English, Charles Ginocchio, George Wuenschel, and Bro. Aloysius Gilmartin, were rescued by volunteer firemen from second and third floor windows.

The friars and students of St. Francis College and Seminary owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the people of Loretto and Cambria County in Pennsylvania. For five days after the fire, the American Red Cross from Loretto and Cresson provided meals.

After this initial period the Franciscan conununity took over the running of the kitchen which had been set up in the parish hall of St. Michael's Parish in Loretto. Local housewives kept their ovens going day and night as they baked bread and other food for not only the friars but also for the seminarians and regular students of the college. Gifts were made of pillow cases and sheets. Others contributed razor blades, hats, coats and almost every conceivable necessity. Orders of priests and nuns from all over the country sent donations of clothing and money. 39

The Franciscans in Loretto had for nearly a hundred years tried to respond to the needs of the people in this little town in the Allegheny Mountain range. They now became the recipients of the necessities of life and the affection of the people they tried so hard to serve.

The aftermath of the fire left St. Francis College, which also included St. Francis Prep. School for Boys and St. Francis Seminary, all but decimated. The one saving factor of the tragedy was that no lives were lost and the friars energetically set about the work of rebuilding what had been destroyed. Fortunately a large piece of property across the street from the college had been purchased


Page  254 footnotes:
37 Dixon, p. 152.
38 The Johnstown Tribune, Friday, October 20, 1942, as quoted by Dixon, p. 152.
39 Dixon, p. 154.


Page 255

by a group of benefactors, known as the "Friends of St. Francis." This property, "The Schwab Estate," had previously been owned by Charles Schwab and contained a number of buildings that could easily house the various departments of the school on a temporary basis.

It housed part of the college. For a time it was the site of St. Francis Preparatory School until that institution moved to Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. It had a glorious period as the seminary facility of the Franciscan Friars... 40

The hard times of the early forties proved in the long run to be a galvanizing force in the province. The friars, under the able leadership of Fr. Benedict and Fr. John Sullivan, the President of St. 'Francis College, pulled together, -and through much hard work and devotion rebuilt what was lost. These difficult events also proved to be very difficult for the provincial, Fr. Benedict, who wished to step down from his office before the end of his five-year term. However, the war still prevented detailed communication with the General and Fr. Benedict was obliged to serve out his term.

Fr. John Boccella was elected Minister Provincial in March of 1945 during a visitation conducted by Fr. Michael Vidal, a friar from the Spanish province. Fr. Michael at the time was the superior of the Spanish friars in America. Fr. John was installed as Provincial on April 12, 1945, in Raymond Hall on the campus of St. Francis College. Since the General had charged the new Provincial to continue and increase the support to the Indian Missions, Fr. John appointed Fr. Eugene George as superior of the Mission House in Loretto and chief fund raiser for the missionary endeavor. He also restructured the Indian Mission and appointed Fr. Patrick Boland as the first commissary provincial of the now dependent commissariat. These steps laid the foundation of the process for the establishment of the Province of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Fr. John also set about the task of continuing the rebuilding of the college and seminary that had begun with his predecessor, Fr. Benedict. In order to provide for the religious life of the friars, the first task was the building of a new centrally located monastery.

Plans were drawn up for the construction of a new monastery. The projected cost was over one million dollars. At the time (1945) post war inflation had hit the country and the nation was finding it difficult to readjust to a peace-time economy Every effort was made to get the necessary funds. 41

Friars were dispatched to various dioceses to make appeals for the restoration of the monastery and for the continued rebuilding of what had been destroyed by the fire. "Fr. Bocella personally approached many bishops for permission to take up collections in their dioceses." 42  He also inaugurated needed economic reforms in the province and made it much more financially efficient and sound.

Apparently the economic policies of Fr. John were very successful and in 1946, with the approval of the Bishop of Harrisburg, Bishop George L. Leech, a sixty-acre estate was purchased in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, and St. Francis Prep. School was relocated to this site. The friars of the province continued to serve this apostolate, which included dorm facilities for the students, until 1989 when declining enrollment forced its closure.

Page footnotes:
40 Dixon, p. 154.
41 Dixon, p. 155.
42 Dixon, p. 155.


Page 256

Also in 1946, the Bishop of Steubenville, Ohio, Bishop John King Mussio, requested the provincial to send friars to his diocese in order to open a college. The bishop needed a religious community to provide higher education to the students of the diocese and the area surrounding Steubenville. Fr. John appointed Fr. Daniel Egan to oversee the establishment of a college and Fr. Daniel and a small group of friars left for Ohio. The College of Steubenville opened on December 10, 1947, with a freshman class of over two hundred students.

The first foundation of the college was in the Knights of Pythias Building at 420 Washington Street in the downtown area of the city of Steubenville. "As enrollment grew, other buildings were bought or leased, until it became evident that proper expansion required enough land for a permanent campus. In 1953, the Friars purchased a 40 acre tract on a site overlooking the city of Steubenville. " 43  In the fall of 1961 the college moved to the new campus on the bluffs above the Ohio River. Today the campus encompasses 100 acres with 11 buildings.

Through the years the college had managed to hold its own and attract a sufficient number of students to remain a viable institution. However, in the early 70s, with a decreasing enrollment, the school was facing an economic crisis. Fr. Michael Scanlan, who had previously served the school as dean and was the past rector of St. Francis Seminary, was charged with the task of establishing a new and viable direction for the college. Fr. Michael first addressed himself to the spiritual condition and Christian identity of the school. Priority was given to campus ministry and the spiritual needs of the staff and student population, a priority which is still in place at the university. Households, based on Christian principles and peer support, were introduced into the dorms and the school saw a decreased involvement in national fraternities. The collegiate basketball program was also disbanded for financial reasons and in order to give more emphasis to Christian living and solid scholastic study. Throughout these early years of change the college become more and more active in, and eventually identified with, the Charismatic Movement in the United States.

The next area that was addressed was the academic life of the school. The college had always had a fine reputation in academics. However, there was now a concerted effort made to strengthen the various faculties of the school. The focus was to ensure that the Christian principles that were such an integral part of campus ministry and dorm life would be interwoven into the academic life. As part of the program to strengthen its academic standing, the school requested the state of Ohio to change its charter from College to University. This was granted in 1980 and the school has become known as the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the second of only three Franciscan Universities in the United States. 44

The school now offers a number of bachelor's degrees as well as master's degrees in theology and Christian ministry, educational administration, counseling, philosophy, and business administration. It is also very involved in training for evangelistic outreach and runs a successful program of summer conferences in Christian leadership, evangelization, scripture study, and youth ministry, as well as a yearly conference for priests and deacons.

During this time of change and redirection at the University, the school first saw a dip in its enrollment numbers and then a steady climb. As a result it has been able to take on some major building projects. These include a new library, named for Pope John Paul II, a large sports complex, a replica of the Portiuncula, a new campus design along with a different road layout, an outdoor path

Page 256 footnotes:
43 1992-1993 Catalog, Franciscan University of Steubenville, p. 9.
44 The other two include the University of St. Bonaventure in New York, and Quincy University in Illinois. Both of these schools are administered by the O.F.M.s.


Page 257

for the Stations of the Cross, and a monument in honor of all the deaths that have occurred as a result of abortion in the US. The university is now faced with the enviable problem of finding enough housing to fit the ever-increasing enrollment.

Even though great attention was given to the establishment of St. Francis Prep in Spring Grove, and the College of Steubenville in Ohio, Fr. John Boccella also worked to strengthen the physical plant and academic programs offered by St. Francis College and Seminary. Along with the able assistance of Fr. Adrian Veigle, who would some twenty years later be ordained a bishop in Brazil, Raymond Hall was renovated to house a modern kitchen and dining facility, classrooms were added, and much work and attention was given to the living situation of both the religious and diocesan seminarians. The diocesan students were placed in the large stone building, called "the Schwab mansion," now renamed Alvernia Hall and the friars were housed in Bonaventure Hall, the first house that Charles Schwab occupied in Loretto. The estate itself, which contained Alvernia Hall, Bonaventure Hall, a number of gate houses, and other buildings (including three greenhouses and a large formal garden), was named after the birthplace of St. Francis and given the name Mt. Assisi Monastery.

The province was honored during the ninety-ninth General Chapter of the Order when, on July 16, 1947, Fr. John Boccella was elected as the one hundred and third Minister General, the youngest in the history of the Order. 45 For the third time Fr. John P.M. Doyle, who was then the Custos, took over the responsibilities of the provincial office until the next election. Fr. John Bocella was to hold the office of Minister General for eighteen years. After his tenure as General, he was consecrated bishop on April 17, 1968, and given the Archdiocese of Izmir, Turkey.

This see has few Catholics but is of great historic interest since within its confines there are two shrines of special interest to all Christians, that of Ephesus and that of Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul. 46

The Generalate of Fr. John, whose story belongs more properly to a history of the Order, proved to be a decisive one for the Order. Among his other achievements he initiated a process of dialogue among male Third Order communities that eventually led to the establishment of ongoing communication between the fraternities. This helped lay the foundation for the union of the French province with the Order and provided a framework which contributed to the establishment of international federations of Third Order Franciscans. Also, since the time of Fr. John, the General of the Third Order Regular has been included in the Conference of the Four Ministers General of the Franciscan Orders along with the Generals of the Order of Friars Minor, Order of Friars Minor Conventual, and Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. A detailed history and assessment of this time period has yet to be done.

Fr. John Sullivan took over the provincial leadership a short time after Fr. John Bocella left for Rome. He had previously served the province as president of the college in Loretto. "It was his proud boast that during all of the years that he was president of St. Francis College no one had ever been turned away for lack of funds." 47 Fr. John Sullivan continued his connection with the college and St. Francis continued on the road to full recovery.

45 Doyle, Appendix, p. 6.
46 Dixon, p. 155.
47 Dixon, p. 157.


Page 258

May and June of 1952 proved to be very trying and sad months for the province. On May 17 Fr. Bernardine Dillon, a long time member of the province, died. Five days later, the provincial, Fr. John Sullivan, also died before the end of his provincial term. Finally, two weeks later Fr. John P.M. Doyle, an ever-present force in the province, also passed away. With Fr. John's death a significant and formative period, a time some refer to as the "Doyle Era," became part of history.

Fr. Adrian Veigle, the Custos of the province, took over the provincial government after the death of Fr. John P.M. Doyle, and would later be elected to two further terms. This was a time of great expansion at St. Francis College and a new building project was inaugurated. At the request of the Bishop of Philadelphia, John Cardinal O'Hara, the province accepted educational work in the archdiocese. In the fall of 1953 the friars lived on 13th Street in Center City and then later, perhaps in 1954, opened two houses: St. Pius X Friary on Carpenter Lane, and St. Louis Friary in Chestnut Hill.

The friars taught in many schools in Philadelphia before they became centralized in one school. Among the schools in which these friars served were Roman Catholic, Bishop Neuman, St. Thomas More and Fr. Judge. 48

The province's presence in the Fairless Hills schools began in September of 1957 when friars became members of the faculty at Bishop Egan High School, then a coed institution with boys and girls in separate sections of the same building. Later this building became Bishop Conwell High School for Girls and the boys were transferred to the newly built Bishop Egan High School on Wistar Road. In 1958 the friars took over the administration and staffing this school, part of the Catholic school system of the Archdiocese. Until 1993 the high school was an all boy's, school. However, a recent amalgamation of the school with Bishop Conwell has now made the school coed. It has also required that the friars share the duties of administration and teaching with other religious communities and laity. The merged school, now called Conwell-Egan Catholic High School, is located at the former Bishop Egan High School.

One of the main projects of Fr. Adrian was the building a much larger St. Francis Seminary in Loretto. This building opened its doors in 1962 and was able to house over two hundred students, among this number included religious and diocesan seminarians from various communities and dioceses, as well as TOR friars. In its history the seminary faculty boasted some illustrious professors. Among these were Anthony Bauza of the Immaculate Conception Province in Spain, Frs. Bernard Seigle and Augustine Donegan, the former a noted canon lawyer and the latter an excellent theology professor, and Fr. Roland Faley, a contributor to the Jerome Bible Commentary and, more recently, to the New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Both Frs. Bernard and Augustine were honored by the General in 1979 with the title of Magister Ordinis (Master of the Order). Fr. Bernard had previously been honored by Pope Paul VI in 1973 when he was appointed as a consultor to the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Oriental Code of Canon Law.

The seminary became the focal point of service to the nuns of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese by the inauguration of a monthly community day for religious communities of women serving in the diocese. This began November 5, 1967. 49

Along with a solid theological training, the seminarians were also required to be involved in practical ministerial outreach. This included such programs as:

Page 258 footnotes:
48 Dixon, p. 160.
49 Dixon, p. 161.


Page 259

the Johnstown Community Action Center, Ebensburg and Cresson State Homes for the Handicapped Children, Homes for the Aged, Ebensburg Detention Home, Hospital Visitation, Loretto Boy Scouts, Hollidaysburg County Prison, Orphan Homes, and the Big Brothers program of Blair County. 50

Declining enrollment, due in part to a trend among bishops in the US to send their seminarians to larger theological schools, forced the closure of the seminary in 1979. The building was sold to the federal government five years later. It now serves as a medium security federal prison. The friar students were first transferred to Toronto, Canada, where they received their theological training at St. Michael's College and Regis College, both part of the University of Toronto. Since 1990 the friars have been a part of the theological program at WTU, Washington Theological Union, in Washington, D.C., a school sponsored by and for religious. In addition to the M.Div. degree the school also offers a M.A. in theology and various sabbatical and continuing education programs for religious men and women, and the laity. This is the only theological school in North America where Conventuals, OFM's, Capuchins, and TOR's study together. The TOR friars reside in a house not far from the location of the first house of the TORs from Sacred Heart Province in Washington.

The missionary zeal of the province did not end with India. In the early 1960s the province was once again called upon to work in the missionary apostolate. During the provincialate of Fr. Adrian the province accepted a new missionary outreach in Brazil. As their brothers did over thirty years previously, the friars once again responded to the needs of the church and left for the missions. The first missionaries were Frs. Marcellus Smith, Miles Ryan, and Robert Sisk who were accompanied to Manaus in the state of Amazonas by Fr. Kevin Keelan, the minister provincial, in August of 1962. In December of the same year, Frs. Carlo Napoli, Roger Chunta and Victor Gall joined the others. Fr. Joseph Glancy arrived in early 1963. Eventually houses were established in Manaus, Borba, Nova Linda, and other towns along the upper Amazon. Fr. Adrian himself joined this missionary endeavor and he is still living in the country he came to love so much. He was ordained titular bishop of Gigthi and prelate of Borba, Brazil on June 9, 1966 and served the Brazilian church with the same kind of devotion and expertise with which he had served the province.

The provincials that have followed Fr. Adrian oversaw, among other things, the continued development and expansion of St. Francis College in Loretto. With its connection with St. Francis Academy, the first school the early Irish brothers established, this is the oldest continuous apostolate in the province. The current president of the college, Fr. Christian Oravec, has been president for over half of the past thirty years (as of this writing seventeen years and counting). Along with its basic degree progams in a number of areas, most notably in business and education, the college also offers a number of masters degrees. Among these include M.A. programs in pastoral ministry, education, and personnel administration/industrial relations, medical science (physician assistant), and a newly-established masters in business administration. It also administers a very successful continuing education department that has been a welcome addition to the Altoona-Johnstown area. The college has recently successfully finished a major capital campaign and is in the process of expanding its athletics complex. One major academic development has been the restructuring of the general studies program, featuring a redesigned core curriculum which emphasizes the connections among disciplines, the goals of Franciscan higher education, and service to the community. The enrollment at the college is currently at a point where the building of new dorms is being seriously considered.

The Franciscan character of the school is enhanced by the presence of the Dorothy Day Center on the campus. The center is a vital force in the community providing needed fuel, clothing,

Page footnotes:
50 Dixon, p. 162.


Page 260

and food assistance for the poor in an economically depressed area. This outreach demonstrates the continued awareness of the college community and the province that social outreach to those in need is an integral part of Franciscan service.

The Last Thirty Years

As can been seen by this brief historical sketch, the central apostolate of Sacred Heart Province has been, and to a certain extent still is, its educational outreach. This is represented today in the province's continued involvement in St. Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania, the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, and Conwell-Egan Catholic High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. However, the province has not restricted itself to educational institutions.

In the 1950s, and apparently for only a short period of time, the province was involved in rural parishes in Kentucky. In the late 1960s, during the provincial administration of Fr. Columba Devlin, friars from Sacred Heart Province also accepted two parishes in the Pittsburgh Diocese in Pennsylvania. "A friary was established at St. Agnes Parish in Pittsburgh, December 1, 1969. The first group of Franciscans to enter this new apostolate [served] as hospital chaplains at colleges" and at a prison. 51 The second parish staffed by the friars was St. John the Evangelist on the South Side of the city in the fall of 1971. Due to an extensive restructuring of the diocese in recent years, St. John's has been closed and St. Agnes was returned to the diocese which used the rectory for six diocesan priests who were chaplains at the university hospitals. The parish was closed on October 3, 1993. After the closing of the Parish of St. John some friars stayed in Pittsburgh and continued their work as hospital chaplains and retreat directors. The most recent apostolate that has developed in the diocese is the acceptance of St. Keiran's Parish, a new church in the Lawrenceville area. There are also plans to move the provincial offices back to the city.

In 1978 the province accepted a parish and a hospital chaplaincy in the Miami Diocese in Florida. In 1986 the province moved its parish work from Miami and accepted two parishes in St. Petersburg Diocese in Florida: Our Lady of Grace Church, St. Petersburg, and St. Patrick Church, Tampa. It also accepted limited work in the diocesan high school.

Sacred Heart Province extended its presence in the southern part of the United States when in 1979 Bro. Paul McMullen worked as a parochial minister in the Diocese of Ft. Worth, Texas, at St. John's Parish. After serving in other parishes, the province, in response to the need of the bishop, staffed St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Fort Worth in 1981, and then St. Andrew's Parish in the same city. Frs. Warren Murphy and Carl Szura, followed closely by Frs. Vernard Moffit and David Kraeger, were the first priest friars sent to this new apostolic field. Several years later the province accepted the direction of St. Maria Goretti Parish, Arlington, in the same diocese. These three parishes, along with a sustained presence in hospital ministry, represent a tremendous ministerial presence of the Third Order Regular in Texas, and it has been an enriching experience for the province. In the same year Fr. Louis McIntire was appointed pastor of St. Joseph Church in Herdon, Virginia.

In 1986 the province accepted two parishes in the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese in West Virginia: Assumption Church, Keyser, and in St. Francis Xavier Church, Moundsville. With the acceptance of these two parishes the province's commitment to the parish apostolate swelled to fifteen. These include:

Page 260 footnotes:
51 Dixon, p. 162.


Page 261

Church of the Assumption
Holy Trinity Church
Our Lady of Grace Church
OurLady of Mt. Carmel Church
Our Lady of the Valley
Sacred Heart Church
St. Andrew Church
St. Francis Xavier Church
St. John Church
St. Joseph Church
St. Maria Goretti Church
St. Matthew Parish
St. Patrick Church
St. Thomas Aquinas Church
St. Thomas the Apostle Church

Keyser, West Virginia
Ramey, Pennsylvania
St. Petersburg, Florida
Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania
Luray, Virginia
Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
Fort Worth, Texas
Moundsville, West Virginia
Plankinton, South Dakota
Herdon, Virginia
Arlington, Texas
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Tampa, Florida
DeSmet, South Dakota
Fort Worth, Texas

 

 

Among its apostolic endeavors the province has time and time again tried to respond to the spiritual needs of the friars and those of the people it serves. In 1971 friars opened a house of prayer in Coden, Alabama, an experiment that lasted only four years. However, the desire for a permanent presence in a house of prayer did not die. Fr. Ronald Mohnickey, accompanied by Fr. Salvator Stefula and Bro. Sean Mary-Fitzwater, established a Retiro house in Butler, Pennsylvania, in 1976. In 1978 the house was moved to Boston, Virginia, and continued in operation until 1983. The Retiro provided a place for either brief or long periods of contemplative prayer for friars in active ministry.

The province was also involved in retreat ministry at Sacred Heart Monastery in Winchester, Virginia. The house was used as the novitiate of the province from November 1961 to 1986. However, in the mid 1970s, due to smaller novitiate classes, it was decided that the house could easily accomodate both the novitiate and a retreat ministry. When the province collaborated with the Immaculate Conception Province in a ' joint novitiate in 1986, Sacred Heart Monastery became a full time retreat center. The province continued this ministry until 1990 when the house was renovated to house elderly members of the province and those friars in need of medical care.

The year 1977 saw the election of Fr. Roland Faley as Minister General of the Order. He had previously been elected as Procurator General in 1971. During his twelve years in Rome Fr. Roland was instrumental in initiating the process which led to the new Third Order Regular Rule. He also oversaw the incorporation into the Order of the diocesan communities: Franciscan Familiar's of St. Francis, in the Marianhill Diocese in South Africa, and of the Franciscan Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul in Sri Lanka. Two friars from the United States, Fr. Dunstan Sisk, from the province of the Sacred Heart, and Fr. Cyprian Mercieca, from the province of the Immaculate Conception were sent to South Africa to assist with the merger. After leaving office Fr. Roland served as the executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in the United States. He now resides in Austin, Texas, where is working with the spiritual renewal of the diocese and as director of continuing education for clergy and religious. He has written a scriptural commentary on the Sunday readings. This book is scheduled to be published by Paulist Press in the early part of 1994.

The history of Sacred Heart Province is an ongoing story. The previous pages have attempted to list some of the more significant events in what will, God willing, be only the opening chapter in a long history of service to the people of God. Unfortunately, when a brief history such as this is written the events portrayed often overshadow the personalities of the friars who were a part of those events. How does one capture on paper the wonderful, prayerful, witty, and at times eccentric characters of these friars, friars like Fr. Bruno Currier, who died shortly after his ordination in his early thirties and is considered by many a saint; Fr. Regis O'Brien, whose preaching style and tremendous dedication was known by all the friars in the province; Fr. Austin Hovan, short in stature, but who was gifted with an orator's voice and fine intelligence; Bro. Amadeus Kroeger, a true example of Franciscan hospitality and wit; Fr. Columba Devlin, a most capable administrator and a Franciscan in the best sense of the word; and so many others. The history of the province is, in the final analysis, the story of their lives and dedication. They have done their part, May the Lord show us what is ours to do.

List of Provincials

Very Rev. Fr. Jerome Zazzara
Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Breheny
Very Rev. Fr. Louis P. Donahue
Very Rev. Fr. John P.M. Doyle
Very Rev. Fr. Eugene T. George
Very Rev. Fr. Benedict Determan
Very Rev. Fr. John H. Boccella
Very Rev. Fr. John P.M. Doyle
Very Rev. Fr. John Sullivan
Very Rev. Fr. Adrian Veigle
Very Rev. Fr. Kevin Keelan
Very Rev. Fr. Jude Gleason
Very Rev. Fr. Columba Devlin
Very Rev. Fr. Edmond Carroll
Very Rev. Fr. Dennis Sullivan
Very Rev. Fr. Jordan Hite
Very Rev. Fr. Edmund Carroll
1910 - 1913
1913 - 1916
1918 - 1924
1924 - 1937
1937 - 1940
1940 - 1945
1945 - 1947
1947 - 1948
1948 - 1952
1952 - 1962
1962 - 1966
1966 - 1969
1969 - 1976
1976 - 1984
1984 - 1992
1992 - 1995
1995 - 2004

           List of Generals

Most Rev. John Bochella 1947 - 1965
Most Rev. Roland Faley 1977 - 1983

           List of Bishops

His Excellency Urban McGarry 1965 -
His Excellency Adrian Viegle 1966 -
His Excellency John Bocella 1968 - 1992

Michael J. Higgins, TOR
July 1993

References:
1992-1993 Catalog. Franciscan University of Steubenville
Bentivegna, Joseph J., ed. Bicentennial Commemorative History of Loretto, Pennsylvania. Ebensburg, PA: Damin Printing Co., 1976.
Doyle, John P.M. History of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance. Unpublished Manuscript, Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1947.
Provincial Archives, Sacred Heart Province; especially a time line of important dates provided by the Provincial Archivist, Bro. Michael Tripka, TOR.
Quinn, Patrick. "The Third Order Regular of St. Francis in Ireland." Analecta TOR. vol XXIV, 153, 1993.