Francis J. Muller, OFM
1913 – 2003
Fr. Francis J. Muller, OFM, was born March 19, 1913, in Lockport, N.Y. From 1933 to 1936, he studied at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. He was received into the Order Aug. 12, 1936 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J. He professed first vows Aug. 16, 1937.
Fr. Francis continued his studies of philosophy at St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony’s Friary in Butler, N.J., and then did his theological studies at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C., where he professed solemn vows on Sept. 17, 1940. He was ordained a priest May 28, 1942, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
After ordination, Fr. Francis devoted his time to both study and ministry. As a newly ordained priest, he and 11 friars of Holy Name Province were sent to Mexico to assist friars of the other provinces. He taught English and Mathematics in a house of studies for the clerics of the Province in Monterey. Between 1945 and 1949, Fr. Francis served as chaplain of the hospital called Muguerza. In 1947, he was engaged in co-founding the Sacred Heart Orphanage that continues to flourish in Monterey. At the same time and place, Fr. Francis taught pedagogy to the student catechists of the diocese.
In 1949, his superiors sent him to Rome to study canon law at the Atheneum Antonianum. He received his doctorate in 1952. On returning to the Province, he was assigned to Holy Name College where he taught the clerics canon law and moral theology for 15 years. Fr. Francis was one of three directors of formation at Holy Name College.
In 1957, he was appointed Visitor General of the Province of Sts. Peter and Paul in Mexico. He also served as secretary of the Province in 1967. Fr. Francis was elected a definitor general at the 19th session of the General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor at the Portiuncula in 1967. He served in Rome from 1967 to 1979.
Fr. Francis returned to serve at St. Francis of Assisi Friary in New York City, where he stayed until 2003. He also served at the New York Archdiocesan Tribunal where he ministered as canonical consultant, defender of the bond and judge.
On February 10, 2003, he was assigned to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J. He died there on July 24, 2003. Fr. Francis was 90 years ld, a professed friar for nearly 67 years and a priest for 61 years.