Biographies

Father Joseph S. Donovan, MM

Born: February 1, 1889
Ordained: May 29, 1920
Died: March 31, 1966

Joseph Donovan was born on February 1, 1889. After attending school he worked for a while before entering on studies for the priesthood at St. Vincent’s Seminary, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. At the conclusion of his Philosophy course he applied to Maryknoll, was accepted and he began his studies in September of 1916. His enthusiasm for Maryknoll soon passed on to his younger brothers, Thomas and Gerard, who joined him in his missionary aspirations by enrolling at the Venard. All three eventually became priests of Maryknoll.

Joseph was ordained on May 29, 1920 and assigned to the Kongmoon Mission in South China. He was first stationed at Tungchen but later transferred to Wuchow when that area became an independent mission.

In May of 1922 he was recalled to the States for reasons of health. After recuperation he became one of our first promoters on the West Coast, residing at our procure in San Francisco. Maryknoll was in great need of material support at that time so Father Donovan continued in promotion work, traveling through the Midwest and the East.

In December, 1931 Father Joe returned to South China, this time as assistant to the Procurator in Hong Kong. After two years in the Crown Colony he was recalled to the States and assigned to the Center. Except for a short period at San Juan Mission, California, which at that time was in the care of Maryknoll, and a brief stay at Mountain View, Father was attached to the Center and his work consisted mainly in helping out in the parishes of the New York area. At the Center he was often seen as the center of attraction, regaling unsuspecting visitors with his sleight-of-hand tricks and puns that never failed to get a laugh.

On March 31st he became ill. He was given the last rites and went to his eternal reward the same day. Funeral and burial were at Maryknoll, New York.