Ronan Reilly, OFM
1922 – 1956
Br. Ronan Reilly, OFM, was born Nov. 27, 1922 in New York City. He graduated from Iona High School and attended the Fordham School of Business. In 1942, he left school to enlist in the United States Army and ended his military career with the rank of major. Br. Ronan became vice president of Diplomat Food Products, a company owned by his father. During his years as a businessman, he was active with a committee for the handicapped, and helped many of them find jobs. As a Catholic idealist, he was involved with business and labor relations, and was an advocate for justice.
Two weeks before his wedding to a wealthy New York socialite, Br. Ronan broke the engagement and decided to enter the Order. After three years at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., he entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1953 and professed temporary vows one year later. Afterward, he was diagnosed with cancer. Br. Ronan insisted on continuing his studies for the priesthood, but his sickness intensified and he spent a great deal of time in the hospital. His motto was always “Fiat voluntas tua — Thy will be done.”
Br. Roan made his solemn profession on April 10, 1956. He died three days later at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Brighton, Mass. He was 33 years old, a professed friar for just over a year and a half.