Charles T. Murr

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Father Charles Theodore Murr-Létourneau
Charles Theodore Murr

(1950-08-15) August 15, 1950 (age 69)
ReligionRoman Catholic
Senior posting
OrdinationMay 13, 1977
Previous postPastor, St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church, Manhattan, New York, New York and Pastor, St. Lucy Roman Catholic Church, Manhattan, New York, New York

Charles T. Murr (born August 15, 1950) (also Charles Theodore Murr-Létourneau) is a Catholic priest, author, linguist, and founder of an Orphanage in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico.[1] Murr is notable as a recipient of the "Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World" award [2] and the "Ten Outstanding Young Americans". Both honors were awarded in 1985.

Early life[edit]

Charles Theodore Murr was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota on August 15, 1950, the oldest of eight children born to Theodore Charles and Anita Jane (née Letourneau) Murr.


Murr completed his primary and secondary education at Catholic schools in the St. Paul area. He attended Brady High School, run by the Christian Brothers in West Saint Paul, graduating in 1969.

Murr then went on to St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, obtaining his B.A., (Magna cum Laude) in Romance Languages in 1971, while also taking graduate courses at the University of Wisconsin at Madison during the summers of 1970 and 1971 in French, Spanish and Latin.

In the fall of 1971, he enrolled in the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Urbe, Roma, Italy; earning a second Baccalaureate, this time in Philosophy in 1972. He then began theological studies at the same University, earning another Baccalaureate, this time in Thomistic Theology, finishing in 1975. Moving on to Graduate Theology, Murr transferred to the Pontificia Universita Gregoriana, Roma, Italia, earning a (Doctoral-level) Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1977, and continuing there, earning a Licentiate in Philosophical Anthropology in 1979.[3]

His continuing education includes: University of Salzburg; Salzburg, Osterreich, (1993–94) Psychology and German; Saint Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York, M.Div 1996, and New York University, New York, New York, M.S. in Psychology, 2001.


On May 13, 1977, in the Basilica of SS. Giovanni e Paulo (Monte Celio), Murr was ordained a Roman Catholic priest by Pericle Cardinal Felici. Murr had worked in L’Ufficio Informazioni (Piazza San Pietro, Vaticano) since 1974, and continued in that capacity until 1979. Murr had additional duties from 1976 to 1979 as Special Aide to Édouard Cardinal Gagnon in Apostolic Visitation to the Roman Curia.

In September 1979, Murr was called to Mexico for one year of pastoral experience before returning to Europe to finish his doctoral dissertation in philosophy. Assigned as curate to the Church of the Holy Family, a poor parish in Tepatitlan, Jalisco (near Guadalajara), He was also named professor of philosophy and theology at the Seminario Major de San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco. Shortly after his arrival in Tapatitlan, Murr began “collecting” abandoned street kids and brought them to his home and began to feed, clothe, and educate them.

Within the year, he had taken in 12 boys and 8 girls. Murr greatly enjoyed teaching but the number of his children was growing and traveling back and forth to the seminary – an hour and a half each way over unimproved roads – was beginning to take its toll. Murr appealed to his Ordianary, Archbishop Francisco Javier Nuno, who was impressed with Murr's zeal and concern for the children and so assigned him full-time to found and build a diocesan orphanage, relieving him of his duties at the seminary. Murr returned to Rome and enlisted the assistance of the Italian Congregation of Our Lady of Sorrows. Hailing from Forli, Abruzzi, the Republic of San Marino, and Rome, four nuns were sent to help him run his mission.[4][5]

During one of Murr's trips to Rome, he was sent to Beirut (Fall, 1983) to assist in the release of kidnap victim Youssef el-Khoury, the Bishop of Tyre, a mission that was successful in obtaining the Bishop's release.[6]

Murr worked two summers (1984 and 1985) on Wall Street (Fundamental Brokers, Inc.) to raise money for the orphanage. Eventually, that company, along with VWGriffo, became major donors to the mission.

About five years from its founding, Villa Francisco Javier Nuno was dedicated on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15, 1986, and became home to 148 Mexican children. Because of his activities at the orphanage, later that year Murr became a recipient of the JCI's "Ten Outstanding Young Americans" for 1986 and "Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World" World award for 1986; he was nominated for the honors by Fr. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame University, who was himself a past recipient. Murr oversaw the construction of other facilities supporting the Orphanage (Casa Hogar) in Villa Francisco Javier: La Boulangerie Saint Joseph; Restaurant de L’Eau Vive, all located in Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco; and Rancho Arcangel Miguel [RAM], Buena Vista (Municipio de Tepatitlan de Morelos), Jalisco, Mexico.[7] The building of Rancho Arcangel Miguel was designed by Murr, whose father was a builder and passed along architectural skills to him; RAM was crafted to be a replica of the Von Trapp Family home near Salzburg.

In order to support his work in Tepatitlan, Murr founded Fr. Charles Murr Orphanages, Inc., an organization of which he remains President.[8][9]

Murr's book "Society of Judas" is a Roman à clef of his experiences in Mexico.

On May 24, 1993, Murr was still in charge of the orphanage at the time of the assassination of the Archbishop of Guadalajara, Juan Jesús Cardinal Posadas Ocampo and was advised to resign from his Mexican Diocese that day and offered incardination in the Archdiocese of New York, by John Joseph Cardinal O'Connor.

In New York, Murr assisted in the design and restoration of Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church (German National Parish), Yorkville (Manhattan), New York, New York; the remodeling of Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church, Chelsea (Manhattan), New York, New York; the restoration and renovation of Saint Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church (Manhattan), New York, New York, having been assigned as pastor of St. Francis, located at 96th Street and Lexington Avenue, Manhattan.[10] He was also assigned at the same time as pastor of nearby St. Lucy Roman Catholic Church.

On April 2, 2004, Murr resigned his post as Pastor of St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church.[11][12] because of financial and administrative problems with the parish's elementary school, St. Francis Academy, which closed in 2007. During 2012, he became Founder and President of The Yepes Y Alvarez Legal Defense Fund, Inc., a non-profit organization which assists in select legal defense cases. In 2013, he founded the VERITAS Foundation for Justice, Inc., a non-profit corporation that investigates, collects data, and assists victims of grave social injustice.


  • AMICITAE (Rome: Universita Gregoriana, 1976), 62 pages.
  • DYADIC INTERPERSONALISM: (New York: New York University, 2000), 74 pages.
  • PERHAPS LOVE: (San Francisco, 2018), 103 pages.

Narrative Nonfiction[edit]

  • MEMOIRS OF AN UNWED FATHER: The Mexico Years, 1979-1992 (New York, New York: 1995), 212 pages.
  • THREE SOMEWHAT LONG SHORT STORES: RAFAEL CARO QUINTERO and The Sexologist of Cuautla; TRIPLE-CROSS and The Madoninna of Forli; SIX LESSONS from Madame Tarasca (Salzburg: 2005), 204 pages.
  • THE SOCIETY OF JUDAS (Salzburg: 2006), 387 pages.
  • Y ERA DE NOCHE (San Francisco: 2014), 460 pages.
  • THE GODMOTHER: MADRE PASCALINA: A Feminine Tour de Force (San Francisco: 2017), 282 pages.
  • THE SYRIAN: HILARION CAPUCCI and The Priceless Ransom (San Francisco: 2018), 158 pages.




  • VILLA FRANCISCO JAVIER NUNO (Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco, Mexico), 1986.
  • L'EAU VIVE (Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco, Mexico), 1989.
  • RANCHO ARCANGEL MIGUEL [RAM] (Buena Vista, Jalisco, Mexico), 1991.

Design and Restoration[edit]

  • Church of Saint Joseph Yorkville [Assistant] (New York, New York), 1998.
  • Original Del Monaco Family Home (New York, New York), 2000.
  • Parish House and Church of Saint Francis De Sales (New York, New York), 2003.

Musical composition[edit]

MISSA ROMANUS ROMAE [Mass In Honour Of Pius XII], for Four Voices & Organ; Coro della Cappella Sistina under the direction of Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci; May 13, 1977, Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paulo, Monte Celio, Roma, Italia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Miller, Robert T. "Blessings of Betrayal", in First Things ,Aug 6, 2009.
  2. ^ "Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World"
  3. ^ Ignatius Insight. "Working Out His Salvation With Fear and Trembling in Mexico". San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010. Includes degree information as well as a discussion of the book "The Society of Judas".
  4. ^ Jason Wright (1981-06-13). "History - Casa Hogar Orphanage in Mexico". Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  5. ^ "The Whereabouts of our former Pastor | Saint Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church". Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  6. ^ WILLIAM E. FARRELL, Special to the New York Times (1983-05-24). "Bishop Is Kidnapped In Lebanon And Freed After Appeal To Druse". Lebanon; Israel, State Of: Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  7. ^ The Society Of Judas: A Novel. New York: Book Surge, 2009.
  8. ^ ""Working Out His Salvation with Fear and Trembling in Mexico": An Interview with C. Theodore Murr, author of "The Society of Judas: A Novel" | Ignatius Insight | January 6, 2009". Ignatius Insight. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  9. ^ "Entity Information". 1985-12-18. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  10. ^ "The Whereabouts of our former Pastor | Saint Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church". Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  11. ^ "Letter of Resignation of Rev. Fr. Charles Murr". Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  12. ^ "AnotherTexan,AnotherDeadlyQuagmire". Retrieved 2012-06-24.