Joseph P. Trunk, OFM
1919 – 2011
Br. Joseph Trunk, OFM, was born Aug. 21, 1919 in Wood-Ridge, N.J., and baptized at St. Joseph’s Church in East Rutherford, N.J. He attended St. Andrew Elementary School in Westwood, N.J., and enrolled at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., graduating from high school there in 1938. He went on to complete one year of college at the seminary before discerning that God was not calling him to ordained ministry. Instead, he decided to enter Franciscan life as a lay brother.
He was received as a Tertiary Brother in 1939 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. After two years of work and training, he was received into the Order in 1941 at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J. Br. Joe professed first vows one year later and made his solemn profession in 1945.
His first assignment, which lasted more than three decades, was working on the dairy farm at the Callicoon seminary from 1942 to 1973. He cared for the animals that supplied milk and food for the friar and seminary community, and his barn and his animals were the joy of his life. The decision in 1972 to close the seminary was, naturally, difficult for Br. Joe. He stayed on for a year but then left the area to work on maintaining the house and grounds of several Provincial ministries, including Christ the King Seminary, Allegany, N.Y., St. Bonaventure Parish, Paterson, St. Francis Chapel, Providence, R.I., St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., and St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla.
In 1987, Br. Joe began working on the staff of the Provincial infirmary, then temporarily located at Mt. Alverno Center in Warwick, N.Y. When the Province opened Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., Br. Joe continued as a member of the staff there, serving as vicar of the community from 1990 to 2003. Due to deteriorating health, Br. Joe finally retired there in 2008. A true son of St. Francis, Br. Joe spent his life and ministry in prayer and manual labor.
He died on April 24, 2011 in Ringwood. Br. Joe was 91 years old, a professed friar for 68 years.