Mathias Faust, OFM
1879 – 1956
Fr. Mathias Faust, OFM, was born in Oberbimbach, Germany, on Dec. 30, 1879. He came to the United States in November 1896 and entered the novitiate a month later on Dec. 24.
He professed temporary vows Dec. 25, 1897, and made his profession of solemn vows Jan. 27, 1901. Fr. Mathias was ordained a priest in Paterson, N.J., June 4, 1906.
Between 1906 and 1909 Fr. Mathias served as assistant novice master, assistant in the Paterson parish — St. Bonaventure — and as pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Little Falls, N.J. From 1909 to 1919, he was the master of novices in Paterson.
He was elected to the Provincial Council in 1916, and from 1919 until 1925, served as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. During those years Fr. Mathias purchased the site for Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., accepted the Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, sent out the first missionaries to China, opened the Butler House of Studies and initiated the Franciscan Missionary Union and St. Anthony’s Guild.
From 1925 to 1931, Fr. Mathias was pastor and guardian at St. Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street in Manhattan and built St. Anthony’s National Shrine in the lower church there. From 1931 to 1937, he again served as Provincial Minister and continued the expansion of the Province.
Fr. Mathias’ accomplishments appear incredible, and his practical wisdom and sound judgment touched every corner and every level of Holy Name Province. For 50 years he was a transforming spiritual leader of the local, provincial and worldwide Franciscan life and activities.
He served as General Visitator in many Provinces of North and South America as well as in Germany and Ireland. From 1947 until 1950, Fr. Mathias was the General Procurator in Rome. In 1952, he was appointed General Delegate for the American Commissariats.
Fr. Mathias died in St. Clare’s Hospital in New York City on July 27, 1956. He was 76 years old, a professed friar for 58 years and a priest for 50 years. He served as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province for 12 years.