As part of a Four-Year Plan, the friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province drafted a vision statement which included priorities such as Fraternity, Ministry, JPIC Culture, Vocations, Senior Friars, Our Custodies, and in turn, objectives to enact through the work of our varied Commissions and Initiatives.
In accordance with two of the objectives for Senior Friars, in order to provide both the care of our elder friars and their continued inclusion in the fraternal life of our Province, our Senior Friars Commission requested that those friars share Spiritual Testaments, in their own words.
Each week, check back for a new reflection.
Brother Stephen Murphy, OFM Conv.
Spiritual Testimony~ June, 2019
My name is Stephen Murphy and I am a 65-year-old Conventual Franciscan Religious Brother in the Our Lady of Angels Province (USA). I am happy to say that I am currently retired and live at St. Hyacinth Friary in Chicopee, MA one of our Senior Friar residences. I am originally from Holyoke, MA and grew up in a large close-knit Catholic family where I was educated and grew in my love for people and service. When I was younger, I was considering a vocation to religious life and my Mom suggested I look into the Franciscan college seminary in nearby Granby, MA. At that time, I didn’t even know that seminary existed, but after one visit, I was hooked. And so, in 1975 I entered the novitiate of the Conventual Franciscans in Ellicott City, MD where I professed my first vows under the direction of my novice master Fr. Alex Cymerman, OFM Conv. Friars Tim Kulbicki, Richard-Jacob Forcier, Dennis Grumsey and Daniel Fink are classmates of mine.
My first assignment as friar was at St. Joseph’s Parish in Mt. Carmel, PA. Later, I was missioned at my “favorite” assignment, Mater Dolorosa Parish, Holyoke, MA. It was my longest assignment, 21 years, and this is where I helped out in one of our parishes. During my time in Holyoke, I also had the opportunity (5 summers) to be the Master of Ceremonies for Bishop Dupre. It was a memorable and excellent experience.
I enjoy my Franciscan prayer life very much and have a special devotion to the Miraculous Medal Novena. I also pray the rosary daily.
I would like to share this with anyone considering a vocation to our Order and Province: “Don’t be afraid to listen to the call! Try it. You may not have any satisfaction in your life without trying out this call first.”
I would also like to share with our student friars: “Be faithful in your learning. Learn well that we are all human beings and that we make mistakes! Stay faithful to your vows in spite of any health or problems you may encounter.”