It is with the greatest sadness that I must share the following news, our dear Fr. Juniper Cummings was called by Sister Death at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 26 at St. Gertrude’s Health Center in Shakopee, MN. Fr. Juniper was 93 years old; he had been a Franciscan Friar for 72 years, and a Franciscan priest for 67 years.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Fr. Juniper attended the Minor Seminary at Mt. St. Francis, Indiana, and Our Lady of Carey, Seminary in Carey, Ohio. He completed studies for a Doctorate of Sacred Theology at the University of Fribourg in 1951.
Fr. Juniper was among some of the early faculty of Assumption Seminary in Chaska, MN. It was from the Chaska seminary that he, along with some of the other friar professors began to offer “Theology for the Laity” classes at many of the parishes in the Twin Cities area. Fr. Juniper, along with Fr. Urban Wagner, was a driving force behind the creation of Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center.
Fr. Juniper served as a seminary professor, a pastor, an initial formation director and director of the province’s Development Office. In 1982 he was elected Minister Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation; he served as Minister Provincial for six years. In 1989, he was elected Custos of the Custody of St. Francis, in Zambia. He remained in Zambia for 22 years before returning to the United States where he assisted with sacramental ministry at Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center.
While blessed with a brilliant mind for Theology and Philosophy, Fr. Juniper had the gift of conveying topics in Theology and Philosophy in an easily understood fashion. He was a visionary in the Franciscan Order and he was deeply committed to service to the poor and the marginalized. He also had a marvelous sense of humor and loved to share the many colorful stories of his life in the Franciscans.
May he rest in peace.
Bro. Bob Roddy, OFM Conv., Director, FRSC