Agnellus Kelly, OFM
1909 – 1962
Fr. Agnellus Kelly, OFM, was born in New York City on Aug. 11, 1909. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., and entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 16, 1927.
He professed temporary vows Aug. 18, 1928, and made his profession of solemn vows Aug. 18, 1931. Fr. Agnellus was ordained a priest in Washington, D.C., on June 12, 1934.
Fr. Agnellus went to the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Hankow, China, for his fourth year of theology and Chinese language studies in 1934. He worked with Msgr. Julius Dillon in Sha-tao-kuan in Shasi, where they built a complete mission plant. Fr. Agnellus was pastor there with 30 mission stations.
He later worked in Hosueh, and while there, the Japanese War forced his return to the United States in 1941. He spent his next five years as an exiled missionary in Clason Point, N.Y., and returned to his mission in Shasi in 1946.
The mission was rebuilt, and Fr. Agnellus was working in Ho Chia Chang where he built an orphanage for the many children left without parents after the war. The communist invasions began, and again Fr. Agnellus was forced to return to the United States.
He ministered at St. Francis of Assisi Parish on 31st Street in New York City as a cheerful friar and dedicated chaplain for the Donegal Association of New York and the Catholic Council of Electrical Workers.
He died in New York City on July 4, 1962. Fr. Agnellus was 52 years old, a professed friar for 33 years and a priest for 28 years.