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PHS grad celebrated as a Capuchin Friar

A man with Perham roots will mark a milestone as a Capuchin Friar.

Brother Michael Gaffney, who attended Perham High School, will be one of 12 friars celebrating jubilee anniversaries at St. Lawrence Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wis., on July 18. The seminary is the founding site of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.

Jubilarians are celebrated for their longevity as friars.

Born in Milton, N.D., to Daisy and Roland Gaffney, Michael Gaffney went to school in Cavalier, N.D., until eighth grade and then moved to Perham. During his senior year, Gaffney met Capuchin Friar Bertram Grismer, also of Perham, who invited him to visit Mount Calvary for a post high school retreat.

After graduation, Gaffney attended the Center for Creative Arts in Detroit, Mich. He has painted, sculpted and provided graphic arts services for the Capuchins’ Detroit development office for the past 30 years. His largest sculptures are showcased in New York and Wisconsin.

“I have been very blessed in many ways,” Gaffney said. “My life has been a happy one. I ended up doing what I dreamed of as a boy. I lived with many holy Capuchins, who have had and still have a huge influence on my life. It is because of them that I am still a Capuchin Friar.”

The Capuchins are an international community of friars modeling themselves after St. Francis of Assisi.  The brothers of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph, headquartered in Detroit, serve in a variety of ministries, including social service, schools, chaplaincy, retreat houses and parishes in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Arizona, California, Nicaragua and Panama.

Established at Mount Calvary in 1857, there are currently 174 members in the St. Joseph province.