Oliver Murray, OFM
1906 – 1975
Fr. Oliver Murray, OFM, was born on July 16, 1906 in Glasgow, Scotland. He was baptized by a friar in Glasgow’s St. Francis of Assisi Church, and 10 years later traveled to the United States during World War I. His family settled on Manhattan’s East Side, and after graduating from Cathedral High School, he went to St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. He entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1926, professing temporary vows one year later. He made his solemn profession in 1930 and was ordained in 1933.
Almost his entire ministry was devoted to preaching the Word of God. Except for summers during the 1930s when he taught American history at St. Bonaventure College, and the one year he conducted retreats at the Province’s house in Brookline, Mass., his stays at the friaries to which he was assigned were short and infrequent.
Fr. Oliver loved living out of a suitcase. In an article he wrote for Friar Magazine, he listed the qualifications for a gypsy preacher: “a strong voice, good health, pleasing personality, and the virtue of humility, for the missionary must not take himself too seriously.” Fr. Oliver preached the Word “in season and out of season” for 42 years and wrote: “I cannot conceive a more satisfying life.”
He died on Nov. 26, 1975 at St. Clare’s Hospital, Denville, N.J. Fr. Oliver was 69 years old, a professed friar for 48 years and a priest for 42 years.