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Home WHO WE ARE Assumptionists Profiles Bro. RICHARD GAGNON, A.A.



Interviewer – Would you share a bit about your family background?

Bro. Richard – I was born in Portland, ME and grew up in Saco where I attended the local parochial school and Catholic High School. My father was born and educated in Biddeford and worked at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. My mother grew up and went to school in St. Agatha, ME, and worked at a supermarket. I have two younger married brothers, one lives in Old Orchard Beach, ME and the other in Miramar, FL. I also have 2 nieces and 2 nephews.

- How did you become interested in religious life?

- In high school I had the Christian Instruction Brothers where I experienced their strong presence as they witnessed their religious life as a community of brothers. From there I went to St. Francis College and was attracted to the Franciscan community there which belonged to a Canadian province. I started thinking about religious life at the beginning of my senior year and became a candidate. However, during this process, the Franciscans decided to
leave Maine and return to Canada. I then began looking into American congregations. As providence would have it, my candidate director knew Fr. Edgar Bourque, A.A. who was novice master for the Assumptionists at that time. And so, as they say, the rest is history. In 1968 I entered the Assumptionists as a postulant and began my novitiate in
June in Dedham, MA. I finished my novitiate in Brookline, MA and made my first profession on August 28, 1970. My final profession was in November 1977 at Assumption College in Worcester, MA.

– Where did your assignments take you from there?

– My first assignment after novitiate was at our retreat center in upstate New York where I was the food buyer and retreat coordinator. I also did parish catechetical work in nearby towns during my 5 years in Cassadaga. I was next assigned to teach at Tampa Catholic High School in Florida and appointed local treasurer of the community. During this time I studied for my M.Ed. at Boston College and graduated in 1977. In 1979, I was asked to go to our General House
in Rome as assistant to the congregation’s general treasurer and local treasurer. Before returning to the States, I replaced one of our brothers at St. Peter Gallicantu in Jerusalem for a few months. This was the first of 4 different stints in Jerusalem. In 1982 I became acting director of the Mass Guild in Milton, MA. I was next asked to become one of three Assumptionists on our new vocation team and served as director of the vocation office in NYC for eight and a half years.

– Where did you go from there?

– In 1992-93, I was fortunate to be granted a sabbatical in Jerusalem. During that year I took courses at the Sisters of Zion Biblical Institute and worked in our gift shop at St. Peter in Gallicantu. Upon my return to the U.S., I was assigned to St. Anne’s in Sturbridge, MA where I was local treasurer once again and worked at Assumption Communications in Worcester. I also was the parish’s DRE for the last two years there. From 1999 -2001, I was assigned to work in the social services office of the Diocese of Providence where we had a small community for a short time. When the community was dissolved, I came to Worcester as local treasurer and director of Life House, a drop-in center for persons living with HIV located in the downtown area.

– What is your present ministry?

– Since 2005, I have been working at Assumption College as an Admissions Officer focusing on transfer applications.

– Do you have any hobbies or special interests?

– In my younger days, I enjoyed snow skiing. I now enjoy reading especially historical novels and biographies, visiting with family and friends and watching sports on TV among other things.

– Do you have a favorite scripture passage?

– Yes, Micah 6:8 where the Lord asks us “…to do what is right, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God” has always been a favorite.

– What do you see as the future of the congregation?

– Our future seems to be growing in the developing countries of Africa and Asia, especially in Vietnam and the Philippines where vocations are plentiful. We have never been a large congregation even in the hay days of vocations and I see that trend continuing but in a different hemisphere.

Worcester, April 2011

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