Brennan, Sebastian, 1861-1937, Capuchin priest

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Brennan, Sebastian, 1861-1937, Capuchin priest

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9 December 1861-29 January 1937


Thomas Brennan was born (to Irish parents) in the town of Tow Law in County Durham in England on 9 December 1861. He joined the English Province of the Capuchin Franciscan Order at Pantasaph Friary in North Wales in May 1879, taking Sebastian as his religious name. He was ordained to the priesthood in September 1886. In the following years he was appointed to several pastoral positions in England. He was engaged in mission work in Peckham in London and held the position of vice-master of novices. At the Provincial Chapter of 1890 he was appointed spiritual director to the students and chaplain at a nearby convent, orphanage, and boarding school in Pantasaph. In June 1892 he was appointed Lector of Philosophy and Vicar of the House of Studies at Olton in Birmingham. In December 1897 he resigned from his position as guardian (local superior) of Olton to take up missionary work in the United States but was recalled and asked to finish out his term as guardian. Finally, in October 1901, he travelled to America and laboured there in ministry for the rest of his life. He ministered for some time in the Diocese of Lincoln in Nebraska. In September 1903 he and several other friars made their way to Mendocino County in California. Fr. Sebastian initially took charge of Fort Bragg and the area north to the county line. In December 1912 he moved to St. Mary’s Parish in Ukiah. He was appointed superior of the California mission in December 1910 and held this position until June 1920. In 1920 the English Capuchins were given a choice by the Minister General as to whether to remain in California or undertake missionary work in India. Fr. Sebastian opted to remain in the United States while the Irish Capuchins accepted a request from Archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna to take over pastoral work in Mendocino County. Fr. Luke Sheehan OFM Cap. arrived in June 1920 to take charge and Fr. Sebastian moved to Mendocino City. Fr. Sebastian was formally affiliated with the Irish Capuchin Province in 1924. In January 1923 he assumed parochial duties in Greenwood, Elk, and was posted to Willits in October 1928. His final assignment (from 1934) was at Mission Santa Inez near Solvang in California. He died in Santa Inez on 29 January 1937 and was buried in the adjoining mission cemetery.

Baptismal name: Thomas Brennan
Religious name: Fr. Sebastian Brennan OFM Cap.
Date of birth: 9 Dec. 1861
Place of birth: Tow Law, Durham, England
Name of father: Thomas Brennan
Name of mother: Mary Brennan (née Waters)
Date of reception into the Capuchin Order: 18 May 1879
Date of first profession: 23 May 1880
Date of final profession: 23 May 1883
Date of ordination (as priest): 18 Sept. 1886
Missionary assignments: Travelled to California, United States, in 1901 and remained there until his death.
Date of death: 29 January 1937
Place of death: California, United States
Place of burial, Cemetery, Mission Santa Inez, California


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