Francis Frawley, OFM
1915 – 1990
Fr. Francis Frawley, OFM, was born in Schenectady, N.Y., on Oct. 11, 1915. He attended St. Bonaventure College in Allegany, N.Y. After graduating in 1936, he worked for the Central New York Power Corporation.
In 1938, Fr. Francis he entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows the following year. He made his profession of solemn vows in 1942, being ordained a priest later that same year at St. Bonaventure University.
At the time of his ordination, Fr. Francis volunteered for the mission in China, and he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. He attended Yale University’s Chinese Language School for one year and went to China as a missionary with three other friars.
Fr. Francis worked with Monsignor Julius Dillon, OFM, for two years in Shasi, but was forced to return to the United States with eight other friars as a result of the communist invasion and takeover.
After spending three years teaching at St. Bonaventure University, he joined the early group of Holy Name friars in the newly established Gumma Mission in Japan. Fr. Francis was the first pastor in Takasaki and built the city’s first church in 1954. He served in the cities of Kiryu, Numata and Maebashi. For 26 years, he worked as a missionary in Japan.
The hallmark of Fr. Francis’ life was his ever-present joyful spirit, which attracted many to the teachings of Christ. He was a joyful, outgoing friar, genuinely spiritual and prayerful. He was beloved by the people whom he served.
Illness forced him to return to the Province, and he served at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston until 1985, when he retired to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla.
He loved golf; shortly before his death, he remarked to a visitor: “I’m ready for the 19th hole. I’ve played 18 holes of life and enjoyed them all. I missed a few putts and sliced a few into the woods, but I know God will greet me with open arms at the 19th.”
Fr. Francis died Aug. 3, 1990, at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J. He was 74 years old, a professed friar for almost 51 years and a priest for 47 years.