Ralph Cullen, OFM
1895 – 1966
Fr. Ralph Cullen, OFM, was born on Feb. 20, 1895 in Boston. He attended St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., from 1919 to 1922 and was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1927. He professed temporary vows one year later, made his solemn profession in 1931 and was ordained in 1932.
Before ordination, Fr. Ralph had a colorful career that included starring in a Broadway production of “The Student Prince” with actress Hope Hampton before microphones were used onstage. As a Franciscan friar, Fr. Ralph employed his rich baritone voice for the glory of God. He would entertain at many a songfest and Gaudeamus, and the delightful duets that he and Fr. Pancratius Halstrom, OFM, rendered are well remembered.
After his first assignment at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, the actor-turned-priest journeyed to China as a missionary. Fr. Ralph then served as assistant pastor of St. Stephen’s Parish, Croghan, N.Y., ministered as a home missionary based in the Bronx, N.Y., and served as assistant at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J. After spending 11 years at St. Francis Friary, Brookline, Mass., Fr. Ralph transferred again to Paterson.
He died there on Feb. 27, 1966. Fr. Ralph was 71 years old, a professed friar for 37 years and a priest for 33 years.