Biographical Sketch of
Father Gerald J. Cushing Fitzgerald
(Biography: Father Gerald Fitzgerald)
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
October 29, 1894
Second child born to Michael Edward and Mary Elizabeth Brassil in South Framingham, Massachusetts.
November 4, 1894
Baptized in St. George Church in Saxonville, Massachusetts
Graduated from Weymouth High School, president of his class, editor of the school paper "The 1912".
September 16, 1912
Entered Boston College, became associate editor of college paper "The Stylus" in his junior, senior years.
June 15, 1916
Graduated from Boston College.
Autumn of 1916
Entered St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Mass.
May 26, 1921
Ordained at Cathedral of Holy Cross in Boston, Richard J. Cushing was in the same class and graduated the same day, he went on to become Archbishop and then Cardinal of Boston.
May 29, 1921
First solemn Mass at St. Peter's in Cambridge.
June 8, 1921 to September 6, 1921
First assignment as curate at St. Margaret in Brockton, Mass.
September 6, 1921 to November 7, 1933
Second assignment as curate at Our Lady of the Presentation, Brighton district of Boston, started "Letters of the late Father Page".
November 21, 1933, Feast of Our Lady of the Presentation
Entered The Congregation of the Holy Cross.
December 3, 1933
Entered the Novitiate of St. Joseph in Ste. Genevieve near Montreal, Quebec.
December 8, 1934
Profession of first vows under the name of Rev. Michael Joseph Cushing Fitzgerald, C.S.C. Psalm 121:1 chosen for profession announcement.
First assignment as assistant to the Rector of Holy Cross Seminary in North Easton, Mass, began as preacher of novenas and giving retreats.
Autumn of 1936
Appointed Rector of Holy Cross Seminary and remained until December of 1942.
Volunteered as Military (Army) Chaplain at 48 years of age, became known as the "soldier-poet".
Elected to the Gallery of Catholic Authors
Attended Chaplains' School at Harvard University, returned to New York City as Secretary at the Military Ordinate on Madison Avenue, Archbishop Francis J. Spellman, Military Vicar of the Armed Forces of the U.S. was in charge of this office.
His father, Michael Edward, died unaware his son was overseas in Manila
Fr. Wrote from Manila to Archbishop Cushing of Boston and Archbishop Spellman of N.Y. about an apostolate to assist priests who were ill or aged especially spiritual help to revitalize their vocations and help restore them to their priestly ministry.
August 30, 1945
Archbishop Cushing of Boston wrote Fr. that a suitable place in Gloucester, Mass. had been found and the Brothers of St. John of God would operate it until Fr. arrived.
Archbishop Spellman came to Manila and left willing to cooperate in establishing the work in his diocese.
December 8, 1945
De-activated from service at Fort Devins, Mass., returns to Holy Cross Mission Band in North Easton.
November 30, 1946
Received a reply from Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne to start his communities: Servants of the Holy Paraclete, a community of priests and brothers; Handmaids of the Precious Blood, a community of sisters in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
First week in December 1946
Fr. Flew to New Mexico and selected a vacated mountain inn in Jemez Springs across from the 17th century ruins of a Franciscan Mission.
December 26, 1946
Fr. left Holy Cross Seminary in North Easton.
January 4, 1947
Arrived in Jemez Springs.
January 5, 1947, Sunday
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, the Sacrifice of the Mass was offered for the first time.
February 4, 1947
Now were three priests -- will probably have eight priests before the month ends.
May 22, 1947
Three candidates arrived for the Handmaids of the Precious Blood to a small rented house and began to wear the blue uniform.
May 25, 1947, Pentecost Sunday
Foundation Day of the Handmaids of the Precious Blood with Fr. Gerald offering Mass in their convent, and appointing as Superior, Mother Ancilla
June 11, 1947
Fr. Received a letter from the Apostolic Delegate congratulating him on the two new communities.
July 1, 1947
Archbishop Byrne conducted investiture ceremonies at both Via Coeli and Ranchito.
Early August 1947
Twenty-six priests, three brothers and "more coming".
September 12, 1947
Father sent two rules to Rome with a request the two noviates be sanctioned.
Archbishop Byrne conducted an investiture ceremony for two brothers and five priests, Fr. Gerald now exchanging his black Holy Cross Habit for the gray of the Servants of the Paraclete and taking the name, Gerald of the Holy Spirit, S. P. Also a medical clinic was opened named Villa Cor Jesu.
First ordination to the priesthood of the Servants of the Paraclete in the cathedral in Santa Fe.
Ground broke for new chapel for the priests.
January 4, 1949
Telephone call from Archbishop Byrne with the first approval of the two rules from Rome.
The Sponsor, a leaflet, was first published.
Archbishop Byrne asks the Handmaids to staff the Villa Therese Medical Clinic for the Poor in Santa Fe; they continued until August 1981 when the Sisters of Charity replaced them.
The community has sheltered over 200 priests during the last four years.
June 1, 1952, Pentecost
The Servants of the Paraclete were canonically erected as Congregations of Diocesan Right by Archbishop Byrne.
June 7, 1952
Father Gerald flew to Rome and was received in private audience by Pope Pius XII.
June 20, 1952, Feast of the Sacred Heart
Father Gerald makes Profession of Perpetual vows.
July 5, 1952
Archbishop Byrne offers Mass at Via Coeli and appoints Fr. Gerald the Superior General of the community.
Fr. Gerald had his second audience with Pope Pius XII
August 22, 1956
The Handmaids of the Precious Blood were canonically erected as Congregations of Diocesan Right by Archbishop Byrne, and Mother M. Dolorosa Shanley was received as their first Superior General.
Now 488 priests have been sheltered.
The Sponsor became a magazine with 10,000 circulation.
May 17, 1958
Fr. Gerald's mother, Mary Elizabeth Brassil Fitzgerald died.
A new chapel and novitiate for the Handmaids.
Pope John XXIII receives Fr. Gerald and follows their visit with a Letter of Commendation.
A house established in Rome and for a period of time was called the Generalate, and another house in Montopoli, Italy.
Shrine Church of Mary, Mother of Priest is built.
Fr. Gerald receives private audience with Pope Paul VI.
Servants of the Paraclete opened in England, two houses in South America, one in Africa, one in Scotland, they staffed a priests retreat in France supported by the bishops. New houses opened in the U.S. and the Handmaids went to several "missions" like in Vermont where they cared jointly with the Servants for 100,000 members of the Pius X Apostolate for Priests.
January 1, 1966
Fr. Gerald opened the "Queen of Peace" for priests in Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
Fr. Gerald established the Maison du Divin Paraclit in Jallais, France which is owned and financed by the bishops. The Handmaids assumed responsibility for "The Sponsor".
Villa Louis Martin built by the Servants of the Paraclete with financial help from the Bishops of the U.S.
May 21, 1969
Fr. Gerald's 48th anniversary of his ordination.
June 28, 1969, 6:00 P.M.
Fr. Gerald dies in Marlboro, Mass, at a retreat for lay teachers.
July 4th, 1969
Fr. Gerald is buried in Resurrection Cemetery of the Servants of the Paraclete, Jemez Springs, New Mexico with military honors.
Handmaids of the Precious Blood
Cor Jesu Monastery
P.O. Box 90
Jemez Springs, NM 87025
Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica