Louis Joyce, OFM
1912 – 1981
Fr. Louis Joyce, OFM, was born March 21, 1912, in South Boston, Mass. He went to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., to become a missionary. On Aug. 25, 1932, he entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows Aug. 26, 1933. Fr. Louis made his profession of solemn vows Sept. 17, 1936, and he was ordained a priest May 30, 1939.
The following year, he set out for China to fulfill his dream of being a missionary in the East. He studied Chinese in Peking, but the language school soon became a Japanese detention camp, and Fr. Louis had to wait four years before he could go to Shasi. He was only in Shasi for four years when the Communists invaded the area in 1949.
After the expulsion of missionaries from China, Fr. Louis went to Japan. He was the first director of the Franciscan Language School in Tokyo. He also negotiated with Holy Name Province to open a new mission in Gumma Prefecture of the Urawa Diocese in Japan. In 1952, he was appointed the first superior of the Gumma Mission, and directed the purchase of property and the building of the first churches in 10 major cities of Gumma. He served as pastor in Takasaki, Shibukawa, and Omama.
Fr. Louis initiated the early beginnings of the Secular Franciscans and the Legion of Mary throughout the mission, and was appreciated as a practical retreat director by many Japanese religious sisters groups. Fr. Louis has left countless pages of historical data on the friars of Holy Name Province in China and Japan in his many articles published in the Provincial Annals.
He died in St. Mary’s Hospital in Tokyo on May 28, 1981. He was 69 years old, a professed friar for 47 years, a priest for nearly 42 years and a dedicated missionary in the East for 41 years.