Artist Miguel Loredo Dies

Rebecca Doel Friar News

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Miguel Loredo, OFM, died Sept. 10 at Maria Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was a professed friar for 51 years and a priest for 47. The 72-year-old had been in serious condition since suffering a stroke in July.

Services were held in both St. Petersburg and New York City, with interment following at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, N.J.

A Memorial Mass was celebrated by James Toal, OFM, on Sept. 13 at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Church, St. Petersburg. Anthony Carrozzo, OFM, preached the homily at the Mass of Christian Burial, celebrated by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, on Sept. 15 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York.

Early Years
Miguel was born Nov. 30, 1938, in Havana, Cuba, the son of prominent physician Miguel Angel Loredo Serra and Emma Garcia. Attracted by the ideals of St. Francis, he entered the Franciscan seminary in Santiago de las Vegas. Since the friars who worked in Cuba were members of the Basque Province, he continued his Franciscan formation with them in Spain.

In 1959, he entered the novitiate in Zarautz, Gipuzkoa, Spain and professed first vows there the following year. He studied theology at the seminary at Arantzazu, Gipuzkoa, and professed solemn vows in 1963. In July 1964, Miguel was ordained a priest in Arantzazu.

Shortly after his ordination, Miguel returned to Cuba to pastoral ministry at the Iglesia de San Francisco in Havana. He also served as pastor in Casa Blanca. During this time, Miguel continued to develop his talents as an artist. As a child, he had taught himself to paint and was mentored by the famed Cuban artist Rolando Lopez Dirube. He also befriended others, including Portocarrero, Milian, and Mijares.

In 1966, Miguel was among 16 people arrested in Havana on charges of harboring and aiding a man who killed two people in an attempt to hijack a Cuban Airlines plane from Havana to Miami and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. During the next 10 years, Miguel was transferred 22 times among various prison locations in Cuba. During his confinement, he painted on scraps of paper and on the back of the few letters he was allowed to receive; he also wrote poetry.

Due to a Vatican intervention, he was released from prison on Feb. 2, 1976. For the next eight years, he lived at Santo Domingo Friary in Guanabacoa, teaching moral theology at the seminary of San Carlos while serving as pastor of the newly created parish Santa Clara in Lawton.

After persistent attempts to oust him from Cuba, Miguel was finally forced to leave his homeland for Rome in 1984. While there, he attained the licentiate in theology at the Pontifical Anthonian Athenaeum. In 1987, he was assigned to the friary at Sabana Seca in Puerto Rico, where he served in pastoral ministry, as director of students, and guardian of the friary. During this time, he also continued to paint and composed two works: a testimonial entitledDespues del Silencio and a book of poetry called De la Necesidad y del Amor.

loredo-rIn 1991, Miguel moved to New York City, becoming a parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Church. From this base, he ministered extensively to the Cuban exile community in New York and New Jersey. He was also given studio space in the friary to continue his artwork. Over the years, he created numerous paintings on a variety of subjects.

Miguel was officially incorporated into Holy Name Province in October 1994. During his time in New York, he became deeply engaged as a human rights activist, often lecturing at international meetings. He retired from full-time ministry in July 2008, relocating to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg. There, he continued to paint and assist at local parishes until his health failed.

He is survived by his sister, Silvia Fernandez, to whom condolences may be sent at 2561 S.W. 117 Court, Miami FL 33175.

Memorial contributions can be made to: The Franciscans — St. Anthony’s Guild, 4 Jersey Street, East Rutherford NJ 07073-1012.

— Compiled by Rebecca Doel