Sylvester Gagnon, OFM
1901 – 1973
Br. Sylvester Gagnon, OFM, was born in Manchester, N.H., on Nov. 27, 1901. He entered the Province’s novitiate in 1934 at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., and professed temporary vows the following year. In 1938, he professed solemn vows.
He served the friars at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School, Buffalo, N.Y., for many years as a general maintenance man. On his free day, Br. Sylvester would go to poor families in the area and help them with his carpentry skills.
Br. Sylvester had great devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, and the words “Mother of God” are engraved on his tombstone in Winsted, Conn. The origin of the inscription lies in the fact that whenever he struck his thumb with a hammer, Br. Sylvester would replace the usual expletive with “Mother of God.”
A friar of deep faith, Br. Sylvester was devoted to his daily prayers when his work was finished. He spent his final seven years in Winsted, Conn., where he used his talents in both the friary and the church.
He died Aug. 7, 1973, while visiting a nephew in Fairfax, Va. He was 71 years old and a professed friar for 37 years.