1916 – 1962 (January 8)
Joseph Patrick Murray, son of John Murray and Catherine Sharkey, was born in Philadelphia, on January 22, 1916. His early education was obtained at Saint Columba and Saint Helena parochial schools, La Salle College High School and Northeast Catholic High School. He entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, NY, as a postulant in September 1934 and two months later was received as a novice on November 16, 1934. He made first profession of vows at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, NY, on November 17, 1935 and solemn profession on November 17, 1938. He attended Villanova College where he obtained his BA degree in philosophy in 1939, and then pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood in Trinity College Chapel, Washington, D.C., on May 28, 1942.
Father Murray was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Romance Languages by The Catholic University in 1943 and a doctorate in 1948. His first assignment was as a member of the faculty of the Catholic University of St. Thomas, Marianao, Cuba in 1949. In September 1950, he was transferred to Merrimack College, North Andover, MA, where he served as a professor until 1960, when he was appointed dean of the faculty and vice-President of the College. On April 13th of the same year Prior General, Luciano Rubio, honored Father Murray with a lectorate in theology. In 1961, he suffered a severe heart attack at the college, and upon recovery, was assigned in September 1961, to Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York.
On the afternoon of January 8, 1962, when he failed to appear in his customary place at the evening community exercise, he was found to have passed away in his room while reading in his chair. He was 45 years old.
A gentlemanly, perfectly mannered person, Father Murray was an effective professor, an admired member of the faculty, and a pleasant contributor to Augustinian common life.
A Requiem Mass was celebrated on January 10, 1962 at Augustinian Academy, and the Funeral Mass the following day at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, Villanova. Father John Coffey, O.S.A. was celebrant and Father James Sherman, O.S.A. preached the homily.
Father Murray is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova.