Father Maurice Sheehan, OFM Cap., died at Villa De Merillac, Pittsburgh, on Sunday, September 8, 2013. He was 84.
Born to William and Elizabeth (McGough) on August 1, 1929, he was given his father’s name at baptism in his home parish of St. Canice Church in Pittsburgh. After receiving his elementary education at the parish school, he entered St. Fidelis High School Seminary in Herman, Pa.
At his investiture as a Capuchin novice in 1949 he was given his religious name, Maurice. He professed his first vows as a Capuchin Franciscan friar on July 14, 1950, and made perpetual profession three years later. Father Maurice was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955.
Father Maurice was assigned to teach at St. Fidelis Seminary immediately after his theological studies and ordination. For 14 years he served in various capacities at the seminary, the last six years as principal of the high school.
In 1970, he entered Oxford University to earn a doctorate in Franciscan history. Father Maurice returned from England in 1973 to serve as a professor of Franciscan studies at St. Fidelis College in Herman. He was also a professor of church history at the Washington Theological Union in Silver Spring, Md.
In 1979, Father Maurice accepted a professor’s position at the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. and served as assistant director. Father Maurice remained at St. Bonaventure until 1990 when he returned to England as director of Greyfriars Hall at Oxford University.
In 1993, during a brief respite from academic responsibilities, Father Maurice was a confessor at St. Mary of Mercy in Pittsburgh and was later named temporary administrator of St. Alphonsus Church in Wheeling.
Father Maurice taught church history at the Franciscan School of Theology in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1995.
In 1996, Father Maurice was appointed academic dean of Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., a position he held until his retirement in 2011.
He was elected for two consecutive terms to the leadership council of the Capuchin Province of Saint Augustine, serving from 1980 to 1986.
Father Maurice retired at St. Augustine Friary in Pittsburgh. He was admitted to Villa De Merillac in July for physical rehabilitation but suffered a series of medical complications.
Father Maurice is survived by his brother, James, of Pittsburgh.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on September 12 at Our Lady of the Angels Church in Pittsburgh. Burial was in the Friars’ Plot of St. Augustine Cemetery immediately after the Mass.