Gedeon Gál, OFM
1915 – 1998
Fr. Gedeon Gál, OFM, was born on Jan. 9, 1915, at Toszeg in the Diocese of Vac, a Hungarian city on the Danube about 40 kilometers north of Budapest. From age 11, he lived with the friars at Szolnok, ten miles from home, while attending secondary school there.
On August 29, 1932, he was received into the novitiate of St. John Capistran Province, and he professed temporary vows Aug. 30, 1933. He made his profession of solemn vows Sept. 8, 1937, and studied theology at the Franciscan seminary at Gyongyos, where Bishop Endre Kriston ordained him on Sept. 10, 1939.
Fr. Gedeon then taught at state schools for two years before going to Rome in 1941 for a doctorate in philosophy. He finished the course work at the Antonianum with supreme dispatch. After the primary sources for his dissertation were destroyed in a bomb raid, Fr. Gedeon began a second dissertation, on Scotus’s Theoremata. He finished it in six months, en route to a summa cum laude doctorate.
Prevented from returning home by the Soviet occupation of Hungary, he attended philosophical lectures at the University of Naples before joining the scholarly research team of the International College of St. Bonaventure at Quarrachi, near Florence, in 1945. There, he learned his craft from distinguished scholars preparing critical editions of medieval Franciscan authors. He worked there for 22 years before accepting an appointment to the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., in 1962.
When Fr. Gedeon moved to Bona’s in 1963, he was already a mature, high-level researcher and a logical choice to inherit the Ockham mantle of Fr. Philotheus Boehner, OFM, renowned founder of the Institute. In no time he became general editor of the Institute’s critical Latin edition of Ockham’s philosophical and theological writings, eventually constituting 17 volumes, the last one finally published in 1988.
Fr. Gedeon had been granted U.S. citizenship in 1967. In 1992, he became a member of Holy Name Province prior to his formal retirement the same year. On Feb. 24, 1998, he took up residence at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Fr. Gedeon, a research scholar of international repute, died in the Ringwood friary May 25, 1998. He was 83 years old, a professed friar for 64 years and a priest for 58.