Francis Schmitt, OFM
1901 – 1985
Br. Francis Schmitt, OFM, was born Feb. 15, 1901 in Fulda, Germany. As a youth, he attended one of the Fulda Province’s minor seminaries in Holland. He came to the United States at the invitation of Fr. Mathias Faust, OFM, and entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1925. Br. Francis professed temporary vows one year later and was assigned to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., where he worked on the farm for nine years. In 1929, he professed solemn vows.
He went to St. Bonaventure’s College, Allegany, N.Y., in 1935, where he served in the refectory until 1948. Br. Francis was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City and spent 37 years there as refectorian. The many friars he served over the years claimed: “Francis kept the meals moving!” The world, the Order and the Church changed, and Br. Francis went on being himself and continued to do what he had to do. For him, the friars were as unpredictable as he was predictable.
He died on April 24, 1985 in Mother Cabrini Health Care Center in New York City. Br. Francis was 84 years old, a professed friar for 58 years.