Alexius Mulrenan, OFM
1933 – 2013
Fr. Alexius Mulrenan, OFM, was born March 1, 1933 in Melrose, Mass., and baptized Richard Arthur. He attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and Malden, Mass., Catholic High School, graduating in 1951. That fall, he entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.
He was received into the Order in 1953 at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows one year later. Fr. Alexius made his solemn profession in 1957 and was ordained in 1960. His brother, Donald Mulrenan, was ordained the same year for the Society of the Divine Word.
After one year of pastoral education at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, Fr. Alexius was assigned to Assumption of Our Blessed Lady Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J., serving there for three years as parochial vicar. His zeal and dedication to his work were an edification to the people he ministered to. Following the 1964 chapter, he was appointed assistant master of novices at St. Raphael Friary in Lafayette, N.J.
Two years later, Fr. Alexius returned to parish work as parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi in Triangle, Va., serving there from 1966 to 1972. He was then assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Winsted, Conn., as assistant, becoming guardian and pastor the following year. His attentiveness and dedication endured him to the people there.
In 1979, Fr. Alexius moved to St. Patrick Friary, Buffalo, N.Y., where he served as guardian. During that time, St. Patrick’s Church was torn down and the parish merged with neighboring St. Rita’s Parish, which had been staffed by the Slovak Franciscans. While in Buffalo, Fr. Alexius became increasingly concerned about the plight of the poor. In 1982, he established Little Portion Friary there, engaging in direct service to the hungry and homeless.
Two years later, he moved to St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, where he continued outreach to the poor as co-director of the newly established St. Francis House.
Early in 1985, he began experiencing psychological difficulties as the result of a traumatic injury, and was forced to leave active ministry in 1987. He sought treatment and was able to return to life in the friar community in 1994, residing first at St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., from 1994 to 2000, and then at St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla.
In both places, he whole-heartedly devoted himself to domestic tasks within the friary and was especially solicitous of friars experiencing illness or physical handicaps. Though he could not return to public ministry, he remained active in pro-life causes and organizing service to the poor, who always remained closest to his heart.
He died Feb. 7, 2013 at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg. Fr. Alexius was 80 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 59 years and a priest for 53 years.