Isidore Cleary, OFM
1858 – 1920
Br. Isidore Cleary, OFM, was born Nov. 7, 1858 in Kildysart, Ireland. He received the Franciscan habit in 1887, professing temporary vows one year later. Br. Isidore made his solemn profession in 1891.
Fr. Thomas Plassmann, OFM, president of St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y., once described Br. Isidore as “the friar in charge of the dairy at St. Bonaventure’s, a friar of heroic stature, a giant in strength, a child in simplicity, and a model of sanctity and religious devotion.” One day, a young bull attacked Br. Isidore in the barn. He reached out, grabbed the bull by the horns, threw him on his back and walked away. From that day on, whenever Br. Isidore entered the pen, the bull stood in the corner, grunting.
On the day of his death, Br. Isidore called the guardian, saying, “I am going to die today. Hear my confession.” He lingered on until evening and was found kneeling on the floor. Too heavy to be lifted, Br. Isidore pleaded with the friars, “Please leave me be. I want to meet the Lord like a gentleman, on my knees.”
He died on his knees on Feb. 23, 1920 at St. Bonaventure College. Br. Isidore was 61 years old, a professed friar for 31 years.