Joseph Sullivan, OFM
1927 – 2003
Fr. Joseph Sullivan, OFM, was born in Malden, Mass., on Feb. 10, 1927. He studied for four years at Boston College High School, and in 1951, he graduated from Boston College.
He was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 11, 1951, and professed simple Aug. 13, 1952. Fr. Joseph had completed his philosophical studies at Boston College, and thus he pursued his theological studies at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C. He professed solemn vows Aug. 16, 1955, at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., and was ordained a priest less than one month later on Sept. 8 in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
Fr. Joe’s first assignment after ordination was to Our Lady’s Chapel in New Bedford, Mass., for one year. In 1957, he volunteered to serve as a missionary in Brazil. he labored for many years there in a great variety of ministries and offices of responsibility. From 1957 to 1971, Fr. Joe served as pastor of Anapolis and Goiandira and Abadiania and was the director of Radio Santana in Anapolis.
In 1971, Fr. Joe was appointed guardian of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he served for eight years. From 1979 to 1982, he served in the justice and peace ministry in Washington, D.C., a ministry close to his heart. From 1982 to 1998, he served in Anapolis, Pires do Rio, Goiania and Araguacema. He also served as the custos at Anapolis from 1988 until 1996, and became provincial vicar in Anapolis for one year.
He returned in 1998 to Holy Name College to work with the justice and peace ministry. Fr. Joe did return to Brazilia in 2001, but because of illness came back to the United States and was living at St. Anthony Residence in Boston. On June 16, 2003, he was moved to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Joe’s joyful spirit was certainly a reflection of the joyful spirit of the early friars. Thomas of Celano described the early friars as “joyful minstrels of the Lord, moving people to spiritual joy wherever they went.” Fr. Joe was a joyful minstrel of the Lord, a prophet of justice and peace and a witness of Gospel life and values.
He died July 14, 2003, at Holy Name Friary. Fr. Joe was 76 years old, a professed friar for almost 51 years and a priest for 47 years.