Father Benedict Murnane, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1845-1890)

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Born Richard Murnane in Balleighnaen, County Kerry, Ireland on November 25, 1845, he was the son of Garrett Murnane and Margaret Scannel. His parents came to the United States in 1848 and resided in New Hampshire. He received a good education at Seton Hall College in New Jersey and became a school teacher. While teaching in California he met the Passionists and decided to enter the Passionist novitiate in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He professed his vows on November 28, 1866 and received the religious name Benedict. He was ordained a priest on December 23, 1869 at St. Joseph’s Monastery Church, Baltimore, Maryland by Bishop Thomas J. Becker of Wilmington, Delaware who happened to die the very next day. Father Murnane spent his first years of ministry in the western United States as a missionary. As time went on he was elected superior of Baltimore in 1878; West Hoboken, 1881; First Provincial Consultor 1884; Provincial, 1887 and again in 1890. As Provincial, he began the Preparatory School at St. Mary’s Dunkirk, New York and also established the Passionist retreat at Normandy, Missouri. In 1888 he went to Mexico on official business relating to the beginning of a Passionist mission to Tacubaya. In 1890 Father Murnane traveled to Rome for the Passionist General Chapter. Prior to his death he consulted with Dr. Adams who was the house doctor at St. Michael’s Monastery, West Hoboken. Knowing he was ill, Father Murnane went to Dunkirk, New York in November 1890 and had the opportunity to make a general confession to Father Stanislaus Parczyk who was the last member of the original Passionists who came to the United States in 1852. Once in Dunkirk he needed his teeth extracted. Infection set in and this led to his death.

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