ANGOLA, N.Y. — René F. Phillips, OFM, 82, a professed Franciscan friar for 61 years and a priest for 56, died April 15 at his home in Angola.
A wake service was held April 20 and 21 at O’Connell Murphy Funeral Home in Buffalo, N.Y. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated April 22 at Our Lady of Victory National Shrine in Lackawanna, N.Y. Ronald Pecci, OFM, was principal celebrant and homilist. Interment followed at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna.
Born May 23, 1930 to George and Florence Phillips, René was baptized Donald June 8 at St. Martin Church in Buffalo. He graduated in 1948 from Our Lady of Victory Academy in Lackawanna and attended Little Seminary of St. Joseph in Buffalo for two years.
On Aug. 12, 1950, he was received into the Order at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J. Receiving the religious name René, he professed his first vows there in August 1951.
He continued his studies at St. Stephen Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., receiving his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Bonaventure University in 1954. He completed his theological education at Holy Name College in Washington and professed solemn vows on Aug. 16, 1955 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y. René was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1956 at Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington.
Upon completing theological studies in 1957, he completed a pastoral internship year at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. He spent 13 years teaching Latin at Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, during which he served six years as principal of Timon’s Annex, a building for freshmen.
In 1964, he earned a master’s degree in Latin from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, and was awarded a teaching fellowship from Boston University, where he earned a doctorate in education in 1973.
He taught as an associate professor of education at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., until 1989 and served as professor emeritus until 1994. René retired in 1994 to Angola, where he occasionally served as a local spiritual director.
René is survived by his brother George and niece, Lynn Stoessel of Derby, N.Y. Condolences may be sent to George Phillips, PO box 818, 6813 Nettle Creek Drive, Derby, NY 14047.
Memorial donations may be sent to: Holy Name Province Office of Development, 144 W. 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Theresa Bartha