John C Murphy, OFM
1927 – 2005
Fr. John C. Murphy, OFM, was born in Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 16, 1927. After high school, he attended St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.
In 1948, he was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and made his first vows a year later. Fr. John professed solemn vows at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C., in 1952 and was ordained a priest at Mt. St. Sepulchre Friary church, Washington, in 1954.
From 1955 to 1959, Fr. John (known as Chrysostom, then) taught religion and history at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., and also served as dean of men. He went on to graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame and received master’s and doctoral degrees in medieval studies.
Returning to Siena, he taught history, art history and architecture. Fr. John had learned drafting from his father, an architect. He chaired the Siena fine arts department, and later became chair of the history department. He was named chair of the arts division in 1978 and served as vice-president for academic affairs for a decade.
A man with a sparkling sense of humor, Fr. John was also a man of compassion, well-known at Siena for reaching out to academically struggling students. He loved to spend time at the friars’ house on Lake George, often with his good friends Fathers Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, Jerome Massimino, OFM, and Peter Fiore, OFM.
A true Renaissance man, Fr. John was an accomplished gardener and cook. He was courteous, calm and low-key in manner, as well as a kind counselor and confessor. He loved music, especially opera and classical music, although Beethoven was not high on his list of composers.
In 1989, he became pastor of St. Stephen of Hungary Church in New York City and associate at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Conn., in 1993. There, he did continuing education in art and faith, worked with the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and ministered to the homebound. Fr. John had a lifelong interest in architecture, especially in painting. His work was featured in the opening of the Clare Gallery at the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry in Hartford.
In all of his assignments, he showed his Franciscan heart in ways that were truly a blessing to his community and his ministry.
Fr. John died peacefully on Sept. 6, 2005, at the Hebrew Home and Hospital in Hartford. He was 77 years old, a professed friar for 56 years and a priest for 51 years.