John Roser, OFM
1851 – 1936
Fr. John Roser, OFM, was born in Steinach, Germany, on June 4, 1851. While a student of theology at St. Bonaventure College, he entered the friars in Allegany, N.Y., in 1876.
He professed his temporary vows in 1877. In 1880, Fr. John made his solemn profession of vows and was ordained a priest at the old college church in Allegany.
With the exception of a few years of pastoral work in Paterson, N.J., and in New York City, Fr. John’s Franciscan life was spent in Allegany at St. Bonaventure College. He served as master of novices, guardian, and councilor during those years. Most of his time was devoted to teaching the classics: philosophy, theology and liturgy.
His zeal for the Church and the Order was invincible, and his weekends were spent working in local parishes. Fr. John spoke German, English, French, Latin and Italian fluently, and he enjoyed reading the Scriptures in Hebrew.
Fr. Thomas Plassmann, OFM, viewed Fr. John as the last link between the pioneer friars and the new generation of friars, which followed him. His deep faith and genuine simplicity marked his entire life as a friar. Strong in mind and body, with an iron will and unshakable convictions, Fr. John had a keen appreciation of justice and fairness.
He was convinced the Secular Franciscan movement was a gospel approach to the social evils of the day, and he preached on the Secular Franciscans constantly. Even at age 85, Fr. John observed the fasts of the Church and the Order.
He died Sept. 6, 1936, at St. Bonaventure. Fr. John was 85 years old, a professed friar for 59 years and a priest for 56 years. He was known as the “Grand Old Man of Allegany.”