Irenaeus Herscher, OFM
1902 – 1981
Fr. Irenaeus Herscher, OFM, was born March 11, 1902 in Guebwiller, Alsace-Lorraine, France. When he was 11 years old, his family emigrated to the United States and settled in Camden, N.J. After graduating from high school, he worked in a New York shipyard. He went to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., entering the novitiate in 1924 at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J. Fr. Irenaeus professed simple vows one year later, made his solemn profession in 1928 and was ordained in 1931.
He pursued a master’s degree in library science at Columbia University and was appointed assistant librarian at St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y., in 1934. When Fr. Albert O’Brien, OFM, died in the summer of 1937, Fr. Irenaeus became head librarian, a position he held until 1970, when he retired to become librarian emeritus of Friedsam Memorial Library.
Fr. Irenaeus was a library of knowledge and wisdom in himself and was available to all who came to the St. Bonaventure Library. He served as chronista for the Bonaventure community and his contributions to the Provincial Annals have a great historical value for our Province. He was an avid member of the Franciscan Educational Conference.
He died on the way to St. Francis Hospital, Olean, N.Y., on Jan. 28, 1981. Fr. Irenaeus was 79 years old, a professed friar for 55 years and a priest for almost 50 years.