Fergus Fitzsimmons, OFM
1898 – 1984
Fr. Fergus Fitzsimmons, OFM, was born on June 8, 1898 in Dublin. While in his teens, he came to New York City, and lived with Irish cousins while he worked in a bakery. A priest helped him get accepted to St. Bonaventure College and Seminary in Allegany, N.Y. He entered the college and then joined the friars. Fr. Fergus was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1924, and professed temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession and was ordained in 1929.
He taught business for one year at St. Bonaventure’s before attending Notre Dame University to obtain his bachelor’s degree in law in 1934. Fr. Fergus returned to SBU and laid the foundation for what later became the school of business of St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y. He served as secretary of the alumni association, acting postmaster, and administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish in Vandalia, N.Y.
In 1940, Fr. Fergus became the administrator of St. Elizabeth Parish in Wyckoff, N.J., where he made plans for the future by purchasing the land across the street from the church for a school and rectory. Four years later, he became a chaplain in the United States Army and served in Europe and Asia.
After World War II, Fr. Fergus went to Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., to teach in the business division. He served at parishes in Emporia, Va., and in the Bronx, N.Y., and in 1955, returned to Paterson as chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother in Denville, N.J., a ministry he remained with for 18 years. In 1973, he moved to the Provincial infirmary at St. Bonaventure University.
He died there on Nov. 8, 1984. Fr. Fergus was 86 years old, a professed friar for 59 years, and a priest for 55 years.