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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.

December 1942

Volunteered as Military (Army) Chaplain at 48 years of age, became known as the "soldier-poet".


Elected to the Gallery of Catholic Authors

February 1943

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.

April 1945

His father, Michael Edward, died unaware his son was overseas in Manila

Summer 1945

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.

September 1945

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.

April 1948

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.

May 1948

First ordination to the priesthood of the Servants of the Paraclete in the cathedral in Santa Fe.

October 1948

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.

October 1950

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.

1963, 1965

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

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