Thomas McLaughlin, OFM
1905 – 1983
Fr. Thomas McLaughlin, OFM, was born in Ballybreen, County Donegal, Ireland, on Oct. 4, 1905, and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. He studied for three years at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., but left and entered St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y., in 1931.
After graduating from St. Bonaventure, he entered novitiate July 29, 1934, at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J. He professed temporary vows on Oct. 4, 1935, and made his profession of solemn vows on Oct. 4, 1938. Fr. Thomas was ordained a priest in Washington, D.C., on May 30, 1939.
His desire to minister among black Catholics was respected, and he was assigned to St. Anthony’s Parish in Greenville, S.C. After 10 years in Greenville, he experienced the first of many illnesses that were to plague him the rest of his life. He went to the Bronx in 1951, but in 1953, he returned to the south for three months when illness hampered him again.
For six years Thomas was assigned to St. Francis Retreat House in Brookline, Mass. He then spent six years at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., before becoming pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Winsted, Conn. After six years in Winsted, he returned to Providence until ill health forced him to retire to St. Anthony Residence in Boston.
Fr. Tom was a friendly, talkative, loving friar who cared for people and enjoyed the company of his fellow friars. He died in Milton Hospital, Milton, Mass., on May 20, 1983. He was 77 years old, 47 years a professed friar and a priest for almost 44 years.