Juniper Capece, OFM
1932 – 2012
Br. Juniper Capece, OFM, was born on April 14, 1932 in Vineland, N.J., and baptized Anthony. After attending the local parish school through the ninth grade, he worked as a shipping clerk and silver polisher at a jewelry store before discerning a religious vocation.
In 1949, he reported to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J. Received into the Order and given the name Juniper, he was apprenticed in various trades at St. Anthony Friary, St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.J., and St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., where he learned tailoring. Br. Juniper was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson in 1951, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1955.
Br. Junie labored cheerfully at his assigned work as tailor and habit-maker for more than 56 years, until he retired in 2009. As the need arose, he was assigned for short stints to the friaries at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., St. Bonaventure Friary, St. Francis College, St. Stephen Friary in Croghan, N.Y., and St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y. His only break from tailoring took place from 1955 to 1957, when he served as porter at St. Stephen’s Friary in New York City.
In 1965, he returned to Siena College for a 15-year assignment as tailor and nurse. During those years, he became good friends with many of the formation students attending college there. In 1980, he was asked to return to St. Bonaventure Friary. When the monastery was torn down in 1983, he moved his shop to Sacred Heart Friary in East Rutherford, N.J., where he was appointed vicar of the friar community in 1992. In 1996, the Province decided to turn that friary into a residence for AIDS patients, so Br. Junie relocated his shop again, this time to Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md.
After retiring from habit-making due to illness, Br. Juniper spent hours crafting rosary beads that are now in the hands of countless marines, sailors, soldiers, and their family members who came to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. A friar with a warm, fraternal presence, he enlivened many a community recreation with jokes and laughter. Kind and generous, he was especially attentive to providing for the men in initial formation.
He died on Nov. 3, 2012 at the Sanctuary at Holy Cross, a hospice care center in Burtonsville, Md. Br. Juniper was 80 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 60 years.