Edwin (Bernard) Modicowitz
Our friar was a powerful man who was born in Borenia, Poland. His family settled in Most Holy Redeemer parish on the Lower East Side of New York. At the age of twelve he transferred to Our Lady of Sorrows School, where he became acquainted with the Capuchins, found himself drawn to these holy men and after graduation enrolled in their minor seminary. He waited two years before entering the
novitiate in 1926 because the family needed him for support . His robust build served him well as a factory worker. His gentle nature could be provoked at times, and when he was unable to reply to some overzealous flippancy, he had only to seize the antagonist by the arm with his fantastic grip, and that would dispel any further hostility.
Ordained in 1933, he spent two years in the novitiate at Huntington IN, and then after a year at St. Elizabeth, Milwaukee WI, was assigned to familiar ground at Our Lady of Sorrows NYC as an assistant pastor for the next ten years. That was followed by two years uptown in East Harlem. Parish work would be his arena of activity because he returned to Our Lady of Sorrows in 1950 for twelve more years. His responsibilities were fulfilled faithfully, although not with any notable flair, beyond his strong physical presence and booming voice that was anything but melodious. He did seem to enjoy teaching catechism to children. There was a respite for two years in 1948 at the novitiate, where his sermon on one special occasion was remembered for his strong staccato emphasis on a spiritual axiom.
For the friars in the parishes where he served, his delight was to prepare a festive Polish meal that often would take up the better part of his day to reach the desired perfection. He was always ready when the emergency arose to volunteer as the sacristan for long periods, and he enjoyed using his unique and elaborate penmanship to up-date the sacramental records.
In due time an illness forced him into less strenuous activity; although he was very helpful in the sacramental work of St. Francis Chapel, Springfield MA for one year, and then semi-retired at St. Joseph Friary in Fultonville NY, the home of the mission band. There he took full charge of all domestic responsibilities, since his community companions were often away on preaching assignments. In 1972 this friary was discontinued, so Edwin and the preachers moved to St. Fidelis Friary in Interlaken NY. He helped within the friary and occasionally gave pastoral assistance to neighboring pastors, until he took sick and died peacefully.
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