Reverend Bede Mulligan O.Carm., a member of the Order of Carmelites of the North American Province of St. Elias, died on August 31, 2020 after a brief illness. He was 86 years old. May he rest in peace.
John Kevin Mulligan was born in the Bronx, NY on June 14, 1934 and raised in Woodhaven, Queens, New York. He was predeceased by his parents John P. and Ethel C. Gerahty, brothers and sisters, David Noel, Gregory, Patricia and Carol.
As Brother Bede, he was simply professed on September 8, 1954 at Mount Carmel in Williamstown, Massachusetts and professed solemn vows in the Carmelite Hermitage in Wolfnitz, Austria on September 8, 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 6, 1958 in Rome, Italy.
Father Bede attended St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY following his First Profession. He transferred to Collegio San Alberto in Rome, Italy in 1955 and graduated in 1959. During the summer of 1959 Father Bede was a Confessor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal after which he went to the Carmelite International Hermitage in Wolfnitz, Austria, serving as its Sacristan and Prior until 1966. Father Bede returned to the United States in 1967 serving at Our Lady of the Scapular Parish on 28th Street, New York City, NY where he was a Parochial Vicar in the Church and a Chaplain at Bellevue Hospital. He returned to Mount Carmel in Williamstown, MA for the next two years serving as a Retreat Master and Sacristan.
In 1970 Father Bede and the late Father Simeon Marro, O.Carm., the two Carmelites of the St. Elias Province who lived in the Order’s international Hermitage in Austria, founded Mount Carmel Hermitage in New Florence, Pennsylvania in the Diocese of Greensburg. In December 1999 this hermitage was moved to a newly built site in nearby Bolivar, Pennsylvania.
Father Bede wrote: “Following the Rule of St Albert, our (Hermetical) life is one of prayerful solitude and silence tempered by certain elements of communal life. The Mass, Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) are sung daily in Gregorian chant, so conducive to contemplative prayer. The other parts of the Liturgy of the Hours, including the Vigil (Office of Readings) during the night or very early in the morning, are normally prayed by each hermit alone. Meals are eaten sometimes together and sometimes privately. There is no habitual external pastoral ministry. Those hermits who are priests occasionally give conferences to cloistered nuns or to secular lay Carmelites. When necessary, they may offer Mass and hear confessions in the local parish church.”
Father Bede served on the Provincial Ad Hoc Committee on Charism and Spirituality as well as the Fraternal Life Commission during the 1997-2000 Triennium. His ministerial involvements included the occasional retreat or conference for Monks, Nuns, Sisters and Lay Carmelites (both O.Carm. and O.C.D.).
A gentle, intelligent and hard-working Carmelite, gifted with a beautiful voice and excellent knowledge of the Liturgy and Gregorian Chant, Father Bede was beloved by neighbors of the Hermitage and all whom he assisted over the years. He was a professed Carmelite for 66 years and a priest for 62 years. He will be greatly missed.
Visitation and funeral Mass took place on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at Mt. Carmel Hermitage, Bolivar, PA. Father Bede’s body was brought to the National Shrine in Middletown, NY for visitation and Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, September 4, 2020. Following the Mass, Carmelite friars and friends processed to the Carmelite Cemetery across the street from St. Albert’s and The National Shrine. Father Bede was laid to rest next to his long-time friend and fellow-hermit, Father Simeon Marro, O.Carm. (RIP March 18, 2020) with whom he had lived for many years at the Bolivar Hermitage. Arrangements were under the direction of Applebee McPhillips Funeral Home, Middletown, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Father Bede Mulligan’s memory may be made to the Carmelite Education Fund, and mailed to:
P.O. Box 868, Carmelite Drive, Middletown, New York 10940.