Fulgence Buonanno, OFM
1915 – 1983
Fr. Fulgence Buonanno, OFM, was born in Giugliano, Italy, on March 5, 1916. His family immigrated to Philadelphia, Pa., when he reached school age. Through the influence of the Peekskill Sisters, he entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he was an excellent student and an outstanding athlete.
He entered the Province’s novitiate in 1936 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows the following year. Fr. Fulgence made his profession of solemn vows in 1940 and was ordained a priest in 1942 in Washington, D.C.
His first assignment was to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, where he began acquiring a reputation that lasted the rest of life: Fr. Fulgence was a priest anyone could talk to. He made an art of the ministry known as “parlor duty.”
In 1947, Fr. Fulgence was assigned to the original St. Anthony Shrine in Boston where he continued his ministry of helping people in the parlor. He pursued a Ph.D. in psychology at Innsbruck and was assigned to Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., for two years. He then returned to St. Anthony Shrine and spent the final 28 years of his life there ministering to troubled people.
He taught at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton, Mass. He also translated the Compendium of Pastoral Medicine and Compendium of Pastoral Hygiene from German and wrote The Third Ear and Counseling about psychology.
Fr. Fulgence had great sense of humor and was considered a morale builder among his fellow friars.
He died in the pulpit at St. Anthony Shrine on Sunday, Aug. 28, 1983, moments after completing a homily on humility. He began the Creed, “We believe in One God,” and died professing his faith. Fr. Fulgence was 67 years old, a professed friar for 46 years and a priest for 41 years.