Fergus A. Healey, OFM
1927 – 2013
Fr. Fergus Healey, OFM, was born Oct. 14, 1927 in Medford, Mass. He was educated in the local public school system, graduating from Medford High School in 1945. After discerning a vocation to the Franciscan priesthood, he entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied from 1945 to 1948. He was received into the Order in 1948 at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., professing first vows one year later. Fr. Fergus made his solemn profession in 1952 and was ordained in 1954.
He enjoyed almost six full decades of active priestly ministry, five of which were spent in his native New England. His first assignment, after completing theology in Washington in 1955, was to the pastoral staff of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston. He was among the community that moved from 103 Arch Street to the present building later that year. In 1957, Fr. Fergus was assigned as parochial vicar at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, N.Y. The following year, he returned to shrine church ministry as a member of the staff at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., where he spent the next decade.
Following the chapter of 1967 and the election of Fr. Finian Kerwin, OFM, friars in Fergus’s generation began moving into leadership positions within the Province. Fr. Fergus returned to Holy Cross Friary in the Bronx, this time as guardian, and served in that position until 1973. He ministered to the large, disparate fraternity there with care and concern. During that time, he also earned a master’s degree in counseling from Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1972.
When his term ended in 1973, Fr. Fergus requested to return to the pastoral staff of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. In 1977, he was again called to leadership as guardian and rector of St. Francis Chapel in Providence, devoting himself energetically to that ministry for the next eight years. He returned to Arch Street in Boston in 1985, where he remained a vital member of the community for the rest of his life. For his first years back, from 1985 to 1991, he served as vicar. He ministered to couples in troubled marriages for more than 20 years. A number of them attended his wake and funeral.
In 2006, Fr. Fergus suffered a stroke and went to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J., for two months rehabilitation. After another month at St. Anthony Residence in Boston, he was able to return to work at the Shrine, where he remained active until his last illness. Fr. Fergus wanted “to die with his boots on,” and the Lord granted him his wish.
He died on May 24, 2013 at Marion Manor, South Boston, Mass. Fr. Fergus was 85 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 63 years and a priest for 59 years.