1859 – 1904 (December 4)
John Joseph O'Brien, son of Thomas O’Brien and Margaret Cotter, was born in North Andover, Massachusetts, on February 22, 1859. He entered the novitiate at Villanova, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1880, and made his profession of simple vows on February 2, 1881. He was solemnly professed on February 3, 1884, ans was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Patrick Ryan on January 11, 1885 in Philadelphia.
Father O'Brien was assigned to Saint Mary's Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1885, and was particularly responsible for ministry at Saint Laurence O’Toole Church. In June, 1892, he was appointed Rector of Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish, Bryn Mawr, Pa. Here he saw the construction of the friary that had been planned by his predecessor, a tangible sign to the parishioners of the Province’s commitment to the parish. In 1896, under his pastorate, the cornerstone of the church was placed.
In 1902, Father O'Brien returned to Saint Mary's where he served for the last two years of his life as assistant pastor. He was 45 years old when he died suddenly on December 4, 1904, while on a visit to a cousin in Lowell. Prior Provincial Martin Geraghty, O.S.A. celebrated the Funeral Mass on Wednesday, December 7th.
Father O’Brien is buried in Saint Mary's Cemetery in Lawrence.