Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., formerly known as Theophane, 85, of the Third Order Regular of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, died on Saturday, January 7, 2017 at Garvey Manor, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, after an extended illness. He was born on December 1, 1931 in Far Rockaway, Long Island, New York, and given the name Vincent Michael at his Baptism at St. Joachim Church, Cedarhurst, New York. He was the son of the late Vincent Scanlan and Mary Margaret O’Keefe Scanlan. He attended Coindre Hall, Huntington, New York for grade school and graduated from New Hampton School, New Hampton, New Hampshire. On September 15, 1957, he entered Mt. Assisi Friary and began his postulancy.
On June 30, 1958, he began his novitiate at Portiuncula Monastery, Washington, D.C. Scanlan professed his first vows on July 1, 1959 in Washington, D.C., and his solemn vows on July 1, 1962 at Mt. Assisi Friary, Loretto, PA. Fr. Michael was ordained to the priesthood on May 23, 1964, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, by the late Bishop J. Carroll McCormick, D.D., bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. Prior to his entrance into the T.O.R. community, Scanlan attended Williams College, Williamstown, MA, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1953. He then went on to Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, where he was awarded a Doctor of Law degree in 1956. He received his Master of Divinity degree from St. Francis Seminary. He served his country in the United States Air Force before entering religious life. During his long and very faithful Franciscan life, Fr. Michael had an illustrious career in the educational ministries of the T.O.R. community.
His first assignment after his ordination was on the faculty of the College of Steubenville (Franciscan University of Steubenville), Steubenville, Ohio. After teaching for four years, he became the Academic Dean at the College. In 1969 Fr. Michael became the Rector of St. Francis Seminary, Loretto, PA. In 1974, he returned to the College of Steubenville having been elected President by the Board of Trustees. Fr. Michael was president of the College of Steubenville/Franciscan University of Steubenville for twenty-six years. During his tenure the college grew considerably in all areas. It became Franciscan University of Steubenville, enrollment increased dramatically, new undergraduate programs and graduate programs were added. The campus was enlarged and many new buildings were completed. He established the household system on the campus as well as summer Conferences for youth and adults. Today these youth conferences are held throughout the United States and Canada. In 2000, Fr. Michael became the Chancellor of Franciscan University, and later became President Emeritus of the Franciscan University. In 2011, Fr. Michael returned to the Motherhouse in Loretto and was engaged in the ministry of prayer at St. Francis Friary-Mt. Assisi. Fr. Michael was a noted speaker and prolific writer, and he published several books and articles. He served as a trustee on several boards. He was as much at home with the common person as he was with bishops, cardinals and popes. He always made time for anyone who wanted to speak with him. It was his deep spiritual life, rooted in the Holy Spirit that guided and directed his every word and work. During his lifetime Fr. Scanlan received numerous honors.
In 1990, he received the Pro Ecclesia and Pontifice Medal from St. John Paul II, in recognition of extraordinary service to the Church and the Pope. He was honored with the Founders’ Award from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars in 1993. In 1997, he received the highest honor given by the Franciscan Third Order Regular Community: The Sacrae Theologiae Magister, an academic degree beyond the doctorate earned by demonstrating competency in the field of theology. He received many other awards, including Christendom College’s Pro Deo et Pro Patria medal for distinguished service to God and country in 2007. In 2009, He received the Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award from the Institute on Religious Life. He held five honorary degrees. Fr. Michel is survived by his brother Lon Scanlan of Atlanta, Georgia and nephews and nieces and his Franciscan brothers.
On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, a wake will be held at Christ the King Chapel at Franciscan University of Steubenville, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. On Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at 10 a.m. there will be a concelebrated Memorial Mass at Finnegan Field House on the campus of Franciscan University with Very Rev. Richard L. Davis, T.O.R., Minister Provincial and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, as principal celebrant.
Memorial contributions may be made to support retired T.O.R. Friars, c/o T.O.R. Retirement Fund, St. Francis Friary, P.O. Box 137, Loretto, PA 15940.
Other resources for Father Michael Scanlan, TOR : www.franciscan.edu/FatherMike