Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Patrick L. Murphy, SJ, who died on May 24, 2022, at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 89 years old. May he rest in peace.
Pat was preceded in death by his parents, Leo J. Murphy, DC, and Elvira Johann Murphy, and his sister Mary Therese Murphy. He is survived by his siblings: Leo, Thomas, Michael, and Kathleen Murphy, and Anne O’Neil.
Pat was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, on July 10, 1932. Pat’s high school years were spent at Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and St. Mary’s High School near Appleton. Pat attended college at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin; the University of Wisconsin at Fox Cities in Menasha; and Marquette University (1952–1954) in Milwaukee. Pat entered the former Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus on August 17, 1954. He had the usual Jesuit course of studies at the Oshkosh Jesuit Novitiate, St. Stanislaus Seminary, Saint Louis University, and St. Mary’s College. Pat was ordained on June 7, 1967, at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee, made tertianship in Spokane, Washington, and professed his final vows on February 2, 1979, at Holy Name Church in Kingston, Jamaica.
While in the Society, Pat earned a bachelor’s degree in English, Latin, and philosophy (1958) and a master’s degree in education (1963) from St. Louis University.
During regency, Pat taught Latin and history, coached, and served as a counselor at Marquette University High School (1960–1963). During theology studies, he taught Latin and history at Campion Jesuit High School (1965–1966). After ordination, Pat taught theology at Creighton University (1967–1968) and at Marquette University High School (1968–1969).
In 1969, Pat moved to pastoral ministry, serving in San Diego, Jamaica (West Indies), Belize, and many Florida cities. In 2002, he joined Food for the Poor, Inc., an ecumenical Christian nonprofit organization based in Coconut Creek, Florida, that provides food, medicine, and shelter, among other services, to the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean. During his 13 years with Food for the Poor, Pat traveled extensively to raise funds to feed the hungry. He was missioned to the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in 2015.
Pat was an avid sports fan. Growing up near Green Bay, Wisconsin, he loved the Packers and often wore the team’s colors, green and gold. Other times he wore blue and gold—Marquette’s colors—because he was a devoted follower of Marquette University basketball (since 1938!).
All his life Pat wanted to work directly with the poor and marginalized, both abroad and in the United States. He did this in different ways in various locations. He worked in parishes. In addition, he worked with prisoners, with migrant workers, and—from 2002 almost until his death—by begging alms for poor children worldwide under the auspices of Food for the Poor, Inc. He was passionate about helping children, bringing hope to them and their parents, and relieving suffering in the world. He often spoke about how he was humbled by what others did for the poor and by the children who taught him what it means to be humble. He said, “The exalted will be humbled and the humble will be exalted.”
Pat lived simply—very simply. He was a devoted Jesuit priest who took Jesus’ words to heart:
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:37–40)
Pat donated his body to the Medical College of Wisconsin. There will be a Memorial Mass at a date to be determined.
Pat’s remains will be buried in Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee.