John Sullivan, OFM
1903 – 1980
Fr. John Sullivan, OFM, was born in Hartford, Conn., on Nov. 14, 1903. After graduating from high school in Waterbury, Conn., and working for a year, he accepted a football scholarship from St. Bonaventure College. He played tackle for the Allegany, N.Y., college under coach Carroll “Mike” Reilly. He returned home after his second year at St. Bonaventure and for 10 years worked in the business world. In 1944, he returned to the university to complete his education and become a friar.
In 1945, he entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows the following year. Fr. John made his profession of solemn vows in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1950.
He was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Beach Haven, N.J., as an assistant. In 1954, Fr. John became office manager for the Institutional Supply Service and resided in Paterson. He also served as co-chaplain for St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken, N.J.
Beginning in 1962, Fr. John served as chaplain at the Franciscan Brothers’ Novitiate in Oyster Bay, N.Y., for three years. In 1966, he became director of the Pious Union of St. Anthony and curator of the friary in Margate, N.J. In 1969, Fr. John joined the staff of the Franciscan Pilgrimages and spent his final 10 years leading tours all over the world.
Wherever he ministered, Fr. John brought his own brand of enthusiasm, humor and devotion. He treasured all religious symbols and managed to obtain a brick from the holy door opened by the pope, which inaugurated the 1975 Holy Year.
Fr. John moved to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1979 and died there on Oct. 2, 1980. He was 76 years old, a professed friar for 34 years and a priest for 30 years.