The Rev. John J. Flaherty, O.S.A., was born on July 21, 1928, in Chicago, Illinois, to Thomas and Ann (O’Connor) Flaherty. Father Flaherty first came to know the Augustinians by attending St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago; he graduated there in 1946. He later studied at DePaul University in Chicago before entering the Augustinian formation program in 1947.
Fr. Flaherty entered the Augustinian Novitiate in 1948 and later professed his first vows on September 10, 1949. He professed his solemn vows exactly three years later in 1952. He was ordained to the priesthood on October 28, 1955.
Following his profession of vows, Fr. Flaherty earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1952. He continued in theological studies at Augustinian College in Washington, D.C., from 1952-1956. He was later granted a Master of Science in Biology from Villanova University in 1961, and a Master of Divinity from Lutheran School of Theology in 1975. He later earned a Doctorate in Ministry from Lutheran School of Theology in 1991.
Fr. Flaherty taught Biology at St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago from 1956 to 1971. In 1971, he was assigned to Mendel Monastery, Chicago, and began his ministry as a hospital chaplain. He continued his work in various hospitals: Little Company of Mary, Evergreen Park; St. Francis, Blue Island; Palos Community, Palos Heights; Ingalls Memorial, Harvey. During these chaplaincies, he also resided at St. Rita Monastery and Tolentine Monastery in Olympia Fields, Illinois.
In 1995, Father Flaherty was named Chaplain of Mercy Residence at Tolentine Center, a post he held until 2000. After his retirement as Chaplain, he continued to provide sacramental ministry at Mercy Residence and elsewhere whenever there was a need.
Because of his growing need for health care, Father Flaherty was assigned to the newly established Blessed Stephen Bellesini Friary in Lemont, Illinois, in 2010. This community, located at Franciscan Village, was formed to provide health care to elder friars while preserving elements of Augustinian community life. When Bl. Stephen Bellesini Friary relocated to the St. Anthony Home campus in Crown Point, Indiana, in 2013, Father moved there with the community. He died there on October 10, 2014, following several years of gradually declining health. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.
Father Flaherty is remembered as a kind a compassionate “people person.” He loved talking and ministering to people. Even when he required care in the skilled nursing facility at Franciscan Village and St. Anthony Home, he delighted in visiting with other patients, especially those who seldom had visits from family or friends. He often referred to himself as the “pastor of my floor.”