Father Leo Clifford ofm


Yesterday I learned of the passing of Father Leo Clifford.  I knew him only through television, listening to him almost every day reflecting on a variety of topics ranging from loneliness and joy to lost opportunities.

He always wore his Franciscan habit as he delivered his reflection, standing or sitting against a background of a well-groomed garden, or a lakeshore, or a peaceful countryside.  His manner of speaking communicated a sense of peace, of a person at peace with himself, at peace with the world, and at peace with God.

Each reflection lasted four or five minutes.  The quality varied from one day to the next, but my recollection is that every reflection was a real gem, and offered inspiration or consolation as needed.

Father Clifford spoke from the heart.  It was a heart filled with faith in God and love for his listeners and viewers.  Hardly a day passed but he referred to God’s love for each human person.  He always referred to that love as so tolerant, so unconditional, and so unquestioning as to be almost unbelievable.

He spoke in many ways as the Master spoke.  He always had some story from daily life, or some incident from his own experience which pictured the idea he was trying to communicate.  He was easy to understand.  He was not a conceptual theologian, but like the Lord himself he was a theologian of imagery.

Father Clifford lived as a true son of Saint Francis, with 65 years of priesthood in the Order of Friars Minor. I feel we have suffered a great loss with his passing, but I am grateful that I came to know him, and to learn from him through the wonder of television.

Even though Father Clifford has passed from us, his legacy remains, not just in our memory but also available to us in electronic form.  Thanks to the wonders of modern technology we still have it in our power to be entertained, guided and inspired by the faith, wit and wisdom of this gentle man of God.


About johnmarley27

John Marley is a missionary in the Society of Saint Columban. He has lived and studied in Ireland, Italy and the USA, as well as spending many years as a missionary in the Philippines, Chile and Mexico. He sees himself as a citizen of the world, because it all belongs to his heavenly Father. I began this blog to see if I could write something interesting every day based on my own experiences and reflections. I thought it might occasionally appeal to others either as entertaining or maybe inspiring. I choose the topics at random. If I run out of random topics I will either stop writing or perhaps start a series. .

4 responses »

  1. Missionary? Does that mean you are also a Priest? Or perhaps Brother? Not knowing how to address you formerly, or to address you with proper etiquettte, I must address you in an informal manner…so please forgive me if I appear irreverent or insensitive in any way.

    JohnMarley27…I stumbled on your lovely blog while googling for information in the death of Father Leo Clifford. I am glad because as of lately, I have been desirious of finding blogsites that are written thoughtfully, intelligently, and artisticly and consider it an additional blessing if it were laced with direct (and indirect) references to the Catholic Faith, Teaching and Culture! I am inclined to think Father Clifford, from his new Heavenly Mansion, may have had a hand in it! Well, I would like to think so anyway, as find it particularly consoling and soothing, to think that Fr. Leo may have such a lofty place in his eternal abode, that he can inspire us still, but with even more directness using his gifts of counsel and knowledge with the same ease and familarity as when he was alive and living on good Planet earth.

    So, anyway, I hope this is the case, and he has lead me to a rewarding place where I can read and get inspired to live my life more attentivley and lovingly. I look forward to any enlightment or Epiphany that can awaken my oft-times sleepy, lazy and stagnant mind and spirit!

    Take care and God Bless, Marie

  2. Dear Father Marley,
    Thank you for the wonderful tribute to Father Leo Clifford. You did indeed capture the essence of Father Leo from television. I was blessed to have him hear my confession at Arch St. St. Anthony’s Shrine. He concluded confession with , ‘Remember you are never alone. Jesus is always with you.’. He was a kind and humble priest who heard confessions up until about a year ago. An aide would help him get to the confessional with the aid of a walker. That’s how devoted he was to the Priesthood. He served as long as he could. You can hear his reflections at this website: http://copiosa.org/spirituality/franciscan_reflections.htm
    His reflections are also available on DVD through EWTN and other websites.
    Thank you for answering the call to the Priesthood, Father Marley.

  3. My mother just told me about father Leo passing .. A tear came to my eye when she told me .. I love listing to him ..in middle of the night when I can’t sleep I always google him to listen to his 5 min reflictiion .. Also I start my day with at 5am on the catholic radio after the divien mercy .. I’m turly going to miss him even though I never met him..I’m blessed that god brought him into my life .

  4. Well now, being new to this blogsite, I relish the opportunity to read what other like minded Christians feel moved to share after reading the inspirationl writings of this author, Fr. Marley, and to recieve them in my mailbox as they are posted, is most convenient. I woke up this morning, Ash Wednesday, determinded to make a good Lent, and while praying for encouragement and strength to follow Our Lord’s will, no matter what it may be, my eyes fell on a wonderful little book (rather a little manual for right Catholic living) called The Little Catechism of The Cure of Ars. I opened the book randomly and read the section On Pride, and then, immediately a Prayer Card of Padre Pio fell out encouraging the Faithful to practice the virtue of Charity…. then I went to my computer’s email and went to the website referenced in one of the posts, Copiosa.org and listened to the first Reflection of First Hand Faith. Wow, what a wonderway way to predispose myself to start my Lenten sacrifices: reading about the dangers of pride, the necessity to always practice the virtue of Charity and the encouragement of Fr. Leo to ‘work’ on keeping our faith alive – hour by hour even! With these three “Saints…St. John Vianney, St. Pio and ‘St.’ Leo” guiding me along from their Blessed Posts in Eternity, I feel most encouraged to continue on in my personal pilgrimage to live simply and truthfully as God’s daughter.

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