ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Valerian Vaverchak, OFM, 87, a Franciscan friar for 63 years, died on Aug. 31 at Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center in St. Petersburg where he had lived since last year. Funeral services are being finalized.
Valerian was born on Sept. 3, 1992 in Waymart, Pennsylvania, to William and Margaret (née Racht) Vaverchak, and baptized Florian. He attended elementary and vocational school in Pleasant Mount, Pennsylvania, and was received into the Order of Friars Minor on Jan. 24, 1956 at St. Raphael’s Novitiate in Lafayette, New Jersey, where he professed first vows one year later. He made his solemn profession before Celsus Wheeler, OFM, on Jan. 21, 1960 at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston.
Valerian spent his religious life at a variety of locations in a variety of roles — many involving traditional “brother” responsibilities. After his simple profession, he served from 1957 to 1960 as a tailor and maintenance worker at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, New York. He studied nursing at St. Francis Hospital in Olean, New York, from 1960 to 1961 and received his licensed practical nursing certificate. Valerian was then assigned to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey, where he worked as a cook from 1961 to 1964.
Valerian was transferred to Brazil in 1964, serving as a nurse and maintenance worker for seven years. From 1971 to 1977, he worked as a nurse at the Provincial infirmary at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York for five years. In 1977, Valerian returned to Brazil, where he was stationed until 1989, serving in vocation work and initial formation. He then served for three years as sacristan at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, Rhode Island. Valerian was assigned to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg in 1992, where cooked and did maintenance work until spring 2020, when he was transferred to Bon Secours Maria Manor Nursing Care Center.
In June 2007, Valerian was honored by the Province for reaching his 50th anniversary of solemn vows.
Valerian is survived by a sister, Jean Welcka, of Union Dale, Pennsylvania, and four brothers — Alban Vaverchak of Union Dale, Gerald Vaverchak of Moscow, Pennsylvania, Timothy Vaverchak, Binghamton, New York, and William Vaverchak, Phoenix, New York.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas
- “Friars Participate in Brazil Anniversary Celebration” – Aug. 8, 2018, HNP Today
- “St. Petersburg Friary Builds a Chapel” – Aug. 1, 2012, HNP Today