Jerome O'Donnell, OFM
1909 – 1983
Fr. Jerome was born on Sept. 1, 1909 in Quakertown, Pa. He attended Villanova, Pa., University, and worked for several years before entering St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. He was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., in 1937, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1941 and was ordained in 1943.
His first assignment was to St. Richard’s Parish in Emporia, Va. Fr. Jerome was then stationed at St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J. He had entered the friars to become a missionary to China, and in 1946, he went to the Province’s mission in Shasi. The Communist takeover forced him to return to the United States two years later.
Fr. Jerome participated in the Province’s Mission Band for eight years, and lived in Butler, N.J., and the Bronx, N.Y. Illness forced him to discontinue his ministry, and for the next 15 years, Fr. Jerome worked as an auxiliary out of Clason Point. He spent three years in Butler before ministering at Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass. Fr. Jerome was a serious friar who maintained that his main concern was the salvation of his own soul and the souls of others.
He died on Oct. 23, 1983 in New Bedford. He was 74 years old, a professed friar for 45 years, and a priest for 40 years.