LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — Mathias Doyle, OFM, 82, a professed Franciscan friar for 58 years and a priest for 54, died on June 16, 2016 at St. Bernardine Friary where he had lived for nearly 10 years.
A wake will be held June 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the friary, located on the Siena College campus at 515 Loudon Rd., Loudonville, NY 12211. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on June 19 at St. Mary of the Angels Chapel on Siena’s campus. Burial will follow at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, N.Y.
Mathias was born on Nov. 18, 1933 in Malone, N.Y., to Francis and Madeline (nee Donnelly) Doyle. After graduating from Catholic Central High School in Troy, N.Y., in 1951, Mathias earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., in 1955.
One year after graduation, he was received into the Order of Friars Minor in 1956 and professed first vows one year later. He studied philosophy at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., and theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., before professing final vows in 1960. Two years later, he was ordained to the priesthood.
Following a year of pastoral training at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, Mathias was assigned to the faculty of St. Francis College, where he taught history and sociology for two years. He received his master’s degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington in 1965 and completed his doctorate in political science from Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., in 1968.
His first assignment after completing his studies was to his alma mater, Siena College, where he was professor of political science from 1968 to 1975. During this time, he was chair of the political science department and served as a member of the president’s advisory council. He was also guardian of the friar community at the college and served as assistant director of the Province’s pre-novitiate formation program.
In 1975, Mathias was elected the 17th president of St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y. The youngest friar ever selected for the position, his 15-year term in office is exceeded by those of Joseph Butler, OFM, and Thomas Plassmann, OFM, who served 29 years. SBU’s Doyle Hall is named for him.
In addition to his academic work, he focused on social justice issues, working with the poor and marginalized. From 1990 to 1991, Mathias served as the first Administrator’s Fellow with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. He was also special consultant to the Office of Congressman Amory Houghton.
In 1991, he was assigned to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he ministered for two years. In 1993, he returned to St. Bonaventure University as professor of political science, teaching for the next seven years.
While he was stationed at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., from 2000 to 2002, Mathias became the Province’s representative for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an advocacy group which promotes social justice in corporations. He would serve in this capacity for more than 12 years. He was also a member of the Province’s Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Directorate.
In 2002, Mathias returned to St. Anthony Shrine, where he served as director of human services for the next five years. During this time, he was appointed general visitor to the Province of Ireland and general delegate to the friars in India.
In 2004, Mathias was intsrumental in organizing a Province-wide convocation on the topic of globalization. The event, which took place from June 9 to 14 at Siena College, included representatives of the Province’s partners-in-ministry and was sponsored by the JPIC directorate.
From 2007 to 2011, he served as director of the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy at Siena College. After finishing his term, he remained on campus to assist the FCSA in more informal ways. He also ministered at a parish and an assisted learning facility in the local area. He concluded his service as the Province’s representative to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility in 2015.
He is survived by several nieces and nephews as well as great-nieces and great-nephews.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars — Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Carolyn Croke and Maria Hayes
- “Mathias Doyle Featured in St. Anthony Messenger” — March 8, 2006, HNP Today
- “Siena Names Mathias Doyle Franciscan Center Director” — Aug. 29, 2007, HNP Today
- “Mathias Doyle Named Delegate General for India” — Dec. 20, 2006, HNP Today