Charles Rowley, OFM
1929 – 1996
Fr. Charles Rowley, OFM, was born on Dec. 1, 1929 in New York City. He enrolled in St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in 1944 and was received into the Order at the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1949, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1953 and was ordained in 1955.
After receiving a master’s degree in English literature in 1955, Fr. Charles taught for 12 years at Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, N.Y., serving as religious superior of the friary there from 1964 to 1967. He spent more than four years as a missionary in Bolivia and Peru before returning to the United States, where he ministered as a hospital chaplain in New York City.
Fr. Charles came to Boston for the first time in 1970, staying for 10 years before transferring to Our Lady’s Chapel, New Bedford, Mass. He returned to Boston in 1986, remaining there until he moved to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., in 1996.
Fr. Charles was an artist with many paintings on display in locations such as Rome, Japan, South America, various U.S. parishes, and the retreat center in Rye Beach, N.H. Four of his works are on display at Carnegie Hall in New York City. His creation, 12 Friars of the Franciscan Order, is displayed in the Shrine’s auditorium, the first chapel in the world having such a design.
He died on Nov. 20, 1996 at Holy Name Friary. Fr. Charles was 66 years old, a professed friar for 46 years and a priest for 41 years.