Brother Ferdinand Woerle O.F.M.

Brother Ferdinand Woerle O.F.M., better known as Brother Ferdy, was born on July 5th, 1895 in Stimpfach, Württemberg, Germany.  His given baptismal name was Victor.  After being drafted into the German Army in 1915, he was stationed in  Serbia and France during World War I.  He was discharged in 1919, the only one of his five brothers to return home safe.

Brother Ferdinand entered the Franciscan Order in Germany in 1921.  He came to the United States in September of 1921 where he made his final declaration of vows in Paterson, New Jersey.  He came to St. Bonaventure around November of 1923 where he remained dedicated to the Franciscan way of life for over sixty years.

After being injured by mustard gas in World War I, Brother Ferdinand was advised by doctors to find work outdoors.  During his time at St. Bonaventure, he worked in the flower and vegetable gardens all over campus.  Bona's landscape was truly beautified by his imagination and industry.  In addition to grounds keeping, Brother Ferdy also served in the campus chapels as a sexton and sacristan.  The class of 1948 dedicated their yearbook to him as a tribute to the quiet simplicity which was the pattern of his life.

In 1960, arthritis forced Brother Ferdy to give up his landscaping duties.  In 1973, arthritis, diabetes and a heart condition placed him in the Provincial Infirmary.  For years he was
confined to bed by increasingly debilitating illness.  On January 29th, 1984, Brother Ferdinand Woerle O.F.M. passed away.

As a testament to Brother Ferdy, the class of 1953 donated funds for St. Bonaventure’s new main entrance.  It is a permanent memorial to Brother Ferdinand featuring two brick walls running parallel to West State Street.  Terra cotta tablets on each wall signify the two provinces which grew out of the original friars establishment in the area: the Holy Name Province and the Immaculate Conception Province.  Simplicity, humility, affection, and hard work are the characteristics recognized in Brother Ferdy by all students and Friars that knew him.

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This site was created by Christopher Dianetti, intern in the St. Bonaventure University Archives located in Friedsam Memorial Library during the spring 2006 semester. 

Last updated: 27 February 2007