Father Francis J. Mulligan, MM
Born: February 2, 1908
Ordained: June 14, 1938
Died: May 16, 1954
Francis Joseph Mulligan was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on February 28, 1908. He was a three-letter man at his high school and was offered athletic scholarships to various colleges. Despite these attractions, he entered the Venard in 1928. Ordained on June 14, 1938 Father Mulligan left a month later for Wuchow, South China, on his first mission assignment.
He went to Baguio in the Philippines to regain his health and from there was assigned to Korea where he arrived in early 1940. He was in Korea at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was interned and later repatriated on the Gripsholm in 1942. The following January Father Mulligan was assigned to Chillan, Chile. He labored in that country zealously for souls until his death. He was assigned to Pemuco in 1948 and then became pastor of the Parish of Renaico, where the parochial school and convent he erected are a lasting memorial to his devoted service to his parishioners.
Father Mulligan died at Portezuelo, Chile, early on the morning of May 16, 1954 when the rectory of that parish was completely destroyed by fire. Along with a number of other priests, he had arrived on the previous day to help with Confessions and the festivities connected with the blessing of the new parochial school, and the administration of Confirmation.
Solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated for his soul the next morning. In the afternoon, at the pleading of his parishioners in Renaico, his remains were transferred to his own parish, accompanied by a cortege of mourners. On May 18th a Solemn Mass was sung and Father Mulligan was laid to rest in the land where he had given his life for the salvation of souls.
We can speak of Father Mulligan only in superlatives for he was truly gifted by God. From his first days in the seminary, whatever he did, he did intensely – in athletics he was a coach’s dream, a perfectionist, a real competitor with the will to win, yet he could lose graciously. In his studies he was conscientious and far above average; in his dedication of himself and all that he was in God’s service, he was whole-souled.