Stephen Janto, OFM
1912 – 1975
Fr. Stephen Janto, OFM, was born on Sept. 26, 1912 in Clyde, N.Y. He attended St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., and was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1932. He professed temporary vows one year later, made his solemn profession in 1936 and was ordained in 1939.
His first assignment was to Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, N.Y. In 1941, he began teaching at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., in the department of modern languages. Fr. Stephen’s teaching career was interrupted in 1943 when he became an army chaplain. He served in the Philippines, Korea and Japan. After his discharge, he returned to Siena to teach.
In 1949, he returned to military service as a chaplain with the United States Air Force. Fr. Stephen was stationed in Korea, where the vivid memories of the “useless waste of human life” made a deep and lasting impression. His active duty ended in 1952, but he remained on reserve status and held the rank of full colonel.
Fr. Stephen used his veteran’s rights to pursue a master’s degree in Hispanic-American history and eventually received his doctorate from the University of Madrid. He taught at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., until 1958, when he returned to Siena to teach Latin American history for 17 years. Fr. Stephen was a contributor to Franciscan Studies, The Catholic World, and the New Catholic Encyclopedia.
He died on March 31, 1975 in Herkimer, N.Y. Fr. Stephen was 62 years old, a professed friar for 41 years and a priest for 35 years.