Xavier Simonetti, OFM
1926 – 1978
Fr. Xavier Simonetti, OFM, was born in Utica, N.Y., on Sept. 4, 1926. After graduating from Thomas Proctor High School, he entered Hamilton College and received a bachelor’s degree in classical languages.
After one year at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., he entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 12, 1950, and professed temporary vows Aug. 13, 1951. Fr. Xavier made his profession of solemn vows Aug. 13, 1954, and was ordained a priest June 11, 1956, in Washington, D.C.
In 1958, he went to St. Anthony Parish in Asheville, N.C., for one year, and was then assigned to Bishop Timon High School, Buffalo, N.Y., where he taught Latin from 1959 to 1968. Students found Fr. Xavier to be approachable, discerning and sympathetic, and they sought him out as a spiritual father.
He received his master’s degree from St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., and moved to Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., where he continued his educational ministry. The State Education Department enlisted his aid in the formulation of the Regents Examinations in Latin. He was working on his doctoral thesis at the State University of New York in Albany at the time of his death.
Fr. Xavier was a friar of genuine simplicity, unstudied geniality, instinctive compassion and inherent guilelessness who was loved by friars and students alike. He was often compared to the friars found in the Fioretti. Stories of Xavier’s humorous antics abounded to the delight of his confreres.
On the afternoon of June 10, 1978, Fr. Xavier died of a heart attack after pruning a tree. He was 51 years old, a professed friar for 26 years and a dedicated priest for one day short of 22 years.