Joseph Vann, OFM
1907 – 1986
Fr. Joseph Vann, OFM, was born on Nov. 3, 1907 in New York City. He was baptized in St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street, attended the parish school, and entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y. He was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1925, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1929 and was ordained in 1932.
As a young man, Fr. Joe was an excellent student — quiet, reserved and very witty. After ordination, he was assigned to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary to teach English and Latin. In 1937, he was one of the seven friars to found Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., where he taught English and public speaking. He transferred to St. Francis Church in New York City, where he pursued studies at Columbia University before returning to Siena as dean of arts and professor of English.
In 1945, Fr. Joe was assigned to St. Joseph Parish in Winsted, Conn., as an assistant, vicar and, eventually, guardian. He returned to St. Francis Parish two years later, and for five years, conducted RCIA classes along with his other pastoral duties. In 1952, he went back to Siena as vicar and professor of English.
One year later, he transferred to St. Francis Friary, Brookline, Mass., as director of laymen’s retreats. Two years later, he transferred to St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., when it became a retreat house. He returned to Brookline in 1958 to do retreat ministry before moving back to St. Francis Friary in New York City as a member of the Province’s Mission Band. He retired to Siena College in 1972, where he remained intellectually active and was a gold mine of information for the community.
He died on Dec. 28, 1986 at St. Anthony’s Hospital, Warwick, N.Y. Fr. Joe was 79 years old, a professed friar for 60 years and a priest for 54 years.