Edmund Murphy, OFM
1899 – 1959
Fr. Edmund Murphy, OFM, was born on Dec. 31, 1899 in Washington. After attending St. John’s College and Georgetown University, he spent one year at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. He entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1919, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1923 and was ordained in 1926.
He began his ministry as a teacher and prefect at St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y. In 1931, he transferred to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where he ministered for nine years, serving as Provincial secretary and Provincial treasurer. In 1940, he went to St. Anthony Parish in Asheville, N.C., as pastor and praeses. In 1944, he was appointed as Commissary of the Holy Land in the United States and became superior of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland, Washington. During his six-year term, he supervised extensive renovations in the church.
In 1949, he was elected to serve as Provincial Vicar, and in 1951 he returned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, where he remained until 1955. His final assignment took him to Denver, where he served as an assistant at St. Elizabeth Parish until illness forced his return to New York City. A friar with a big heart, Fr. Edmund’s compassion marked every ministry in which he was involved. It was he, referred to in The Seven Story Mountain, who directed Thomas Merton to the contemplative life rather than to the Franciscan way of life.
He died on Dec. 26, 1959 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in New York City. Fr. Edmund was five days short of his 60th birthday, a professed friar for 39 years, and a priest for 33 years.