Biographies

Father John R. O'Donnell, MM

Born: August 7, 1897
Ordained: January 27, 1929
Died: January 11, 1960

Father John R. O’Donnell was born in New York City on August 7, 1897, the youngest of seven children. He was graduated from grammar school in 1912. After two years in high school, he worked for two years and then finished high school in 1918. He applied for enlistment in the Regular Army during the First World War but was rejected because of health. He then enrolled in a night course at the New York University School of Commerce and worked in the day time in the Wall Street office of a commission house.

In August, 1922, he entered the Venard and was ordained to the priesthood on January 27, 1929. That same year he was assigned to Manchuria and worked in the Japanese parish in Fushun. In December 1937 he was granted a furlough and then returned to Fushun. When war with Japan broke out, he was put in an internment camp and was repatriated in August, 1942, returning to the United States with other Maryknollers on the M.S. Gripsholm. The following year he was appointed chaplain of the Glockner Sanatorium in Colorado Springs. In 1945 he went to the Akron house as Spiritual Director and later that year reassigned to the Orient. However, a recurrence of illness made it necessary to remain in Akron. The following year he was appointed Spiritual Director at Maryknoll, N.Y. In the 1946 General Chapter he was elected second Assistant General and then named Mission Secretary by the General Council. In 1947 he was sent as Extraordinary Visitor to the Maryknoll missions in Japan. After the 1956 Chapter he again took up the office of Spiritual Director at Maryknoll and the following year was assigned to Bedford Novitiate.

Funeral and burial were at Maryknoll.