Most Reverend Richard McCullen, C.M., 89, former Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and Company of the Daughters of Charity died peacefully in a sleep today at dawn, December 24, 2015.
The Provincial of Ireland, Fr. Eamon Devlin called the Curia in Rome in the evening yesterday and said, that Father McCullen was very bad and not conscious. Confreres were sitting with him. Father Devlin announced that Father McCullen passed away so peacefully that they were almost unaware that he was gone. They knew he was slipping but did not expect him to go so fast. They thought he would see Christmas. Father McCullen has one sister, who is also frail. She saw him yesterday.
He was born July 28, 1926. He entered Congregation of the Mission in the Province of Ireland in 1945 and was ordained priest May 25, 1952. In 1980 elected 22nd Superior General and reelected in 1986.
His cousin, Dermot McCullen shares his memories of Fr. McCullen on Facebook :
“he was indeed a great man. As the 22nd successor to St. Vincent he considered himself a public relations officer for Jesus – he was a model of compassion and I was lucky to share many milestones in my own life with him. His favourite prayer was ‘Amen’. (…)
“Fr. Dick grew up in Laurence St., Drogheda, the son of my father’s uncle Dr. Paddy and Eva McCullen. My father observed that storm Eva came in over the country last night and as she left she took her son with her this morning. As children we were intrigued by Dick – he spoke seven languages, was fierce fond of home-made raspberry jam and as Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission he travelled the world living out the Gospel and spreading the Good News as the holiest of men, wisest of counsellors, the most insightful of philosophers and a real wit. It is wonderfully poetic that he passed away in his sleep on Christmas Eve.