Noel Fitzpatrick, OFM
1934 – 1974
Fr. Noel Fitzpatrick, OFM, was born on Dec. 20, 1934 in Buffalo, N.Y. He graduated from St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., and entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., in 1954. He professed temporary vows one year later and made his solemn profession in 1958. Fr. Noel was ordained a priest in 1961.
He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Louvain, Belgium. When he returned to America, he was assigned to teach that subject at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y. Noel was the first director of the college formation program when it was moved to Siena. He also served as the assistant to the president.
During his short career as a priest, Fr. Noel taught, guided and inspired hundreds of young people. His early death was a shock, not only because he was young and his death was sudden, but because he had been so dynamic a friar among the students and in the Province.
Beyond his academic achievements, there was a Franciscan impulsiveness and enthusiasm about Fr. Noel, which reached out and sparked people with whom he came into contact. In 1958, while preparing for his solemn profession, he wrote: “The 33 years of Christ’s life did not suffice him… he desires to live again in me. He doesn’t want to live my life, but He wants me to allow Him to live His life through me. By my vows, I can give Him that chance.”
He died suddenly after teaching a class at Siena College on Sept. 26, 1974. Fr. Noel was 39 years old, a professed friar for 19 years and a priest for 13 years.