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 • Minneapolis
 • Hennepin County
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Rev Fr John Joseph O'Keefe
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Birth: Aug. 3, 1914
Minneapolis
Hennepin County
Minnesota, USA
Death: Dec. 14, 1986
Weymouth
Norfolk County
Massachusetts, USA

Father John O'Keefe, CSP, was born on August 3, 1914, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He became familiar with the Paulist community through Saint Lawrence parish, and, in 1927 at the age of 13, entered the new Paulist minor seminary in Baltimore. He was professed on September 3, 1934, and was ordained a Catholic priest on February 2, 1940. His Paulist ordination classmates were Fathers Richard Malloy, Francis Mannion, Walter Gouch, Paul Lewis, John Car, Richard Farley, Richard Ryan, and Charles Donovan.

After an early stint as parish assistant in Austin, Texas, Father O'Keefe served on the Paulist mission bands based in Portland and then Minneapolis. Traveling across the western half of the United States in the 1940s, he gave numerous retreats, school missions, and novenas. In 1947 he was appointed Superior of the Paulist community at Blessed Sacrament parish in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was one of Father O'Keefe's favorite assignments and he remained in Africa for five years. He returned to the United States in 1952 for a brief missionary assignment in Los Angeles before being named Rector of Saint Paul's College in Washington, DC, in 1953. He directed the Paulist house of studies until 1959, and stressed outside apostolic work for students as necessary for solid priestly education.

In 1959 Father O'Keefe rejoined the Paulist mission circuit based in Detroit and Chicago, and in 1964 was appointed Superior of the Paulist community at Saint Lawrence parish in his home town of Minneapolis. Supervising extensive parish renovations, he was a member of several urban re-development committees that reshaped the face of the University of Minnesota and southeast Minneapolis. From 1971 until his death he worked as a missionary preacher and administrator based at Saint Philip Neri parish in Portland, Oregon. He passed away on December 14, 1986, in Weymouth Massachusetts, at the age of 72, having served for 46 years as a Paulist priest.

Father O'Keefe was eulogized by his friend Father Richard Malloy, CSP: "Today I see this man named John O'Keefe in his role of friend, Paulist priest, and missionary, as ‘God's Gypsy' wandering over America and Africa, pausing to touch the hearts and lives of myriad numbers of God's children. As this man named John rests his last caravan in God's meadow, I hear him saying to us the words of the old Gypsy toast:

"Where my caravans have rested,
Flowers I leave you in the grass.
Flowers of love and memory,
You'll find them as you pass."
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Patrick O'Keefe (1877 - 1943)
  Mary Agnes Finn O'Keefe (1879 - 1964)
 
 Sibling:
  John Joseph O'Keefe (1914 - 1986)
  M. Sheila (Mary Katherine) O'Keefe (1916 - 2012)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Saint Marys Cemetery
Minneapolis
Hennepin County
Minnesota, USA
Plot: Section 34, Block 24, Lot 9
 
Created by: Paulist Archives
Record added: Sep 07, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96672113
Rev Fr John Joseph O'Keefe
Added by: Janice Parrow
 
Rev Fr John Joseph O'Keefe
Added by: Paulist Archives
 
Rev Fr John Joseph O'Keefe
Added by: Paulist Archives
 
 
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Rest In Peace, Father John Joseph!
- Eman Bonnici
 Added: Nov. 1, 2012
 
 
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