Brother Thomas Ennis, O.F.M., died Feb. 29 at St. Ignatius Nursing Home where he had lived since last year. He was 85 and a professed Franciscan friar for 54 years.
Brother Thomas was born July 6, 1934, in Williamsport, Pa. to Harvey and Bernette (née Lesher). He attended Williamsport High School and then, after working at a baked goods company and a men’s clothing store, spent several years in the United States Navy, stationed in Cuba, Florida, and South Carolina.
In 1964 he was received into the Order of Friars Minor in Lafayette, New Jersey. He professed his first vows as a Franciscan on July 15, 1965 at the novitiate in Lafayette and his final vows on July 5, 1969, in Williamsport.
Brother Thomas spent much of his religious life caring for those in need. After his profession, he was assigned to Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., where he worked in the refectory, the friars’ dining room. After spending a year at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, New Hampshire, he was assigned to St. Bonaventure University in Western New York from 1968 to 1979 as assistant infirmarian at the Provincial infirmary.
From 1979 to 1980 he Thomas lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he helped care for the elderly at St. Anthony Friary.
Brother Thomas moved to Philadelphia in 1980 and worked at St. Francis Inn’s soup kitchen, where he was stationed until his retirement.
In 2006, he was assigned to Holy Name Friary, the Province’s skilled nursing facility in Ringwood, N.J., and in early 2019, when Holy Name Province closed Holy Name Friary, he was transferred to St. Ignatius Nursing Home in Philadelphia.
He had been a member of the Knights of Columbus and was a devotee of St. Padre Pio.
Brother Thomas is survived by a sister-in-law, Dorothy Ennis, and a niece, Theresa, of Wysox, Pa.
The funeral Mass was celebrated March 5 at St. Anthony Church, Butler, New Jersey. Father Kevin Mullen, O.F.M., provincial minister of Holy Name Province, presided and preached.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Caregiver for 53 years at Camilla Hall dies there at 82
NEXT: Sister Eileen Russell, S.S.J., dies at age 87
Share this story