Leonard Walsh, OFM
1897 – 1954
Fr. Leonard Walsh was born on June 27, 1897 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated from St. Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn before working in an office for several years. He then attended St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., and was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1919, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1923 and was ordained in 1926.
Fr. Leonard’s first assignment was as editor of The Franciscan. After the Province discontinued the magazine, he was appointed guardian and pastor at a parish in East Rutherford, N.J., in 1934. One year later, Fr. Leonard was elected commissary of the Holy Land. As superior of Mount Saint Sepulchre, the Franciscan Monastery, in Washington, he constructed a new wing of the monastery and installed a new library. During his years as commissary, he did much for the sacred places of the Holy Land, which were in a state of deterioration. He revived interest among American Catholics and members of the hierarchy to raise funds for repairs of the sacred places. He remained at the Mount until 1944.
In 1945, he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where he served as spiritual director and teacher of religion at his alma mater in Brooklyn. His last assignment was to St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass., where he was known as a “grand friar whose company everyone enjoyed.” Fr. Leonard was recognized for his initiative, geniality and devotion to his responsibilities.
He died on Oct. 15, 1954 in Echo Lake, N.J. Fr. Leonard was 57 years old, a professed friar for 34 years and a priest for 28 years.