John Edward McMurry, P.S.S.

March 19, 1931

March 25, 2024

Born March 19, 1931, and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Fr. John Edward McMurry was one of three children of Vincent and Augusta (nee Delaigre) McMurry. He is preceded in death by his brother Vincent de Paul, who was also a Sulpician, and is survived by his sister, Mary Ammon, her family, and friends.

Fr. McMurry was educated in Nashville parochial schools and then completed his AB at St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa, in 1953. He began his theological studies in 1953 at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained in Rome on December 16, 1956, and then completed the STL degree at the Gregorian University in 1957. He returned home to the Diocese of Nashville to serve as associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Incarnation (1957–1964), at St. Mary’s Church (1964–1966), and at Blessed Sacrament Church and Mission (1966–1969).

Fr. McMurry then joined the Society of St. Sulpice and was assigned to the faculty of St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, California, from 1969 to 1970 and from 1974 to 1975. He did his doctoral studies in theology at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, from 1970 to 1974 and completed the PhD in 1977. He was admitted to the Society in 1972. After his studies in Berkeley, he was assigned to the theology faculty of St. Thomas Seminary, Kenmore, Washington, for one year (1975–1976). After that, he returned to parish ministry to serve as associate pastor of St. Joseph Church, Vancouver, Washington, for one year (1976–1977). He then took a leave of absence from the Society from 1977 to 1979. He returned to the Society with an assignment on the formation faculty of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Baltimore (1979–1982). He then joined the formation faculty of Theological College from 1982 to 1988. After a sabbatical (1988–1989), he returned to St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore. In 1990 he began a joint appointment with St. Mary’s Spiritual Center on Paca Street. In 1992, Fr. McMurry took up residence at St. Mary’s Spiritual Center and became its director.


After many years of diverse ministries on the west and east coasts, Fr. McMurry found his most focused ministry to come when he was the Director of St. Mary’s Spiritual Center on Paca Street. As a graduate of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, DC (1981–1983), he developed the skills for spiritual guidance. He focused his interest in spiritual guidance by becoming a practitioner of the Ira Progoff Intensive Journal. Fr. McMurry was most well known as a leader of the Intensive Journal workshop. While Fr. McMurry was the Director of St. Mary’s Spiritual Center, he traveled widely on the east coast, and even to California, to conduct these workshops on keeping a spiritual journal.

He retired to St. Charles Villa (now Villa Olier) in Catonsville, Maryland in 2007. During his initial years at the Sulpician retirement community, he continued to be involved in pastoral ministry and served as spiritual director for priests and lay people. As his strength weakened and his cognitive capacities diminished, he withdrew from these ministries and lived out his remaining days quietly at the Villa.

Fr. McMurry donated his body to medical research. Memorial Masses were celebrated at the Chapel of the Villa on April 1, 2024, and April 9, 2024. Very Reverend Daniel F. Moore, PSS, Provincial of the U.S. Province, presided. Fr. John’s friend of many years, Joseph Johns, preached and remembered him as a true spiritual father, who was a good shepherd who served as a mentor and model of compassionate ministry. Following Jesus, Fr. McMurry’s ministry led many to live a more abundant life.

Anthony J. Pogorelc, PSS
Director of Personnel