Gabriel Mehler, OFM
1874 – 1940
Br. Gabriel Mehler, OFM, was born in Hamerz, Fulda, Germany, on July 2, 1874. He was received into the novitiate on March 22, 1905, and professed temporary vows March 24, 1906. He professed solemn vows March 25, 1909, and came to the United States in 1911.
For eight years he served at St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J., and in 1919 he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi in New York City as porter, serving there until his death in 1940.
Br. Gabriel will always be remembered as the founder of St. Francis Breadline in New York City. During the depression, he began to feed the poor and hungry who came to the door of St. Francis Church. By Sept. 26, 1935, Br. Gabriel had fed 1,560,000 people on the front steps of the 31st Street parish. He greeted the hungry with a sandwich, coffee, a dime and a smile.
He died in St. Francis Hospital in the Bronx on May 31, 1940. He was 65 years of age and a professed friar for 34 years.