Reginald Redlon, OFM
1922 – 2012
Fr. Reginald Redlon, OFM, was born on Jan. 10, 1922 in Portland, Maine, and baptized Thomas Anthony. He attended St. Mary’s Grammar School in Westbrook, Maine, where he learned about the Franciscans from the Allegany Sisters who staffed the school. After graduating from Westbrook High School in 1939, he entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y. He was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., where he was given the name Reginald. He professed simple vows in 1944, made his solemn profession in 1947, and was ordained in 1949.
An excellent student, Fr. Reginald was quickly slated for the educational ministry. He spent one year teaching philosophy at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y., before moving to Europe for doctoral studies at the University of Louvain in Belgium, where he lived with the Irish friars. There he met a young friar, Fr. Leo Clifford, OFM, beginning a life-long friendship. He received his Ph.D. from Louvain magna cum laude in 1955 with his dissertation being “The Freedom of the Divine Creative Act According to St. Thomas.”
He joined the faculty of St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., and was named guardian and rector in 1961. Following the renewal years of Vatican II, Fr. Reginald’s native humanism came to the forefront as the old restrictions of the clericate were removed. During his years at St. Francis College, he gained a reputation as a preacher and was invited frequently during the summer months to give retreats to religious communities and priests.
Fr. Reginald served on the Provincial Council and as president of St. Bonaventure University in Allegany. After leaving office in 1972, he devoted his talents to parish work, first as pastor of Our Lady of the Holy Angels Parish in Little Falls, N.J., and then pastor of St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Wyckoff, N.J. In 1982, he was re-elected to the Provincial Council, and resided at St. Bonaventure Friary and St. Anne’s Parish in Little Falls, N.J., while serving in the position. In 1985, he was appointed pastor of St. Anne’s, where he served until 1993. In 1992, Archbishop Peter Gerety of Newark awarded him the Papal Bene Merenti Medal for his distinguished work as pastor in Wyckoff and Fair Lawn, as chairman for the Bergen County of the Archdiocesan Catholic Charities campaign, and as dean of Southern Bergen County.
After three decades in high-profile leadership positions, Fr. Reginald joined his friend, Fr. Leo, as a pastoral associate at St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York City, where he devoted himself to preaching retreats, especially to religious and priests. He retired one decade later to St. Anthony Residence in Boston, although he continued to cross the street to St. Anthony Shrine regularly to hear confessions and socialize with the larger community. In 2010, he transferred to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
He died there on Nov. 7, 2012. Fr. Reginald was 90 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 68 years, and a priest for 63 years.