Bonaventure Jahn, OFM
1837 – 1909
Fr. Bonaventure Jahn, OFM, was born in Fulda, Germany, on Sept. 29, 1837. He entered the novitiate in 1856 in Fulda and professed temporary vows a year later. He continued his seminary studies in Belgium, made his profession of solemn vows in 1858, and was ordained a priest at Namur in 1860.
Fr. Bonaventure came to the United States in 1876, due to the persecution of religious in Germany at that time. He ministered in at St. Stephen’s in Croghan, N.Y., St. Elizabeth’s in Denver, and St. Bonaventure in Paterson, N.J., as a parish priest. In 1893, he was appointed commissary of the friaries in America of the Thuringian Custody, and after the latter’s restoration as a full province, he served as one of the first councilors.
While stationed in Paterson, Fr. Bonaventure cared for the Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Little Falls, N.J., and taught the clerics church history. He was one of the early definitors of Holy Name Province and served as praeses and pastor, in 1898, at St. Anthony’s Parish in Butler, N.J., and, in 1901, St. Mary’s in Obernburg.
He was characterized by Fr. Thomas Plassmann, OFM, as a “lion in the pulpit, but a lamb in the confessional.”
Old age forced Fr. Bonaventure to retire in 1907, and he went to Buffalo, N.Y., where he heard confessions and cared for the Secular Franciscans. He died in his room at St. Patrick’s Friary in Buffalo on Aug. 2, 1909. He was 71 years old, a professed friar for 52 years and a priest for 48 years.