Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner

Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner founded the Academy of the Immaculate. He is the primary expositor of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe in English, and one of the greatest of any language. He dedicated the last half of his life to promoting and defending the Kolbean Heritage.

He was born in Dolgeville, New York to Herman and Mary Elizabeth Fehlner in 1931. He entered the Conventual Franciscans and made his solemn vows in 1955, was ordained a priest in July 1957, and earned a Doctorate from the Seraphicum in 1959, writing on The Role of Charity in the Ecclesiology of St Bonaventure. After his doctorate, he returned to the USA to teach at the Conventual’s theological seminary, St. Anthony on the Hudson in Rensselaer, NY, in 1959. During his 25 years here, he assembled one of the premiere theological libraries (since dispersed) in North America. Developing this library gave Fehlner a rare depth and breadth of reading, especially in the Franciscan tradition. He would apply this deep reading of the Franciscan intellectual tradition in his exposition of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

After a spiritual awakening in the late-1970s, Kolbe’s mission became his own. His constant interest in the renewal and reform started to propose St. Maximilian Kolbe as the contemporary and concrete model of Franciscanism at this moment of history. In 1993, he founded The Academy of the Immaculate with Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., in the spirit of St. Maximilian Kolbe and served as editor-in-chief for many years. While with the Academy, he translated many works, most without attribution, wrote several books, organized and edited the acts of many symposia, and contributed to both scholarly and popular publications. That same year, he transferred to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, and held various leadership positions over the next twenty-five years until he returned to the Conventuals in 2016 shortly before his death on May 8, 2018.

Works by or about Fehlner in print elsewhere:

The Collected Essays of Peter Damian Fehlner, Wipf and Stock, 2023.

  1. Marian Metaphysics.
  2. Systematic Mariology.
  3. Franciscan Mariology—Francis, Clare, and Bonaventure.

The Theologian of Auschwitz: St. Maximilian M. Kolbe on the Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church, Lectio Publications, 2020.

The Spirit and the Church: Peter Damian Fehlner’s Franciscan Development of Vatican II on the Themes of the Holy Spirit, Mary, and the Church—Festschrift, ed. J. I. Goff – C. Kappes – E. Ondrako, Wipf and Stock, 2018.

Ondrako, Rebuild My Church: Peter Damian Fehlner’s Appropriation and Development of the Ecclesiology and Mariology of Vatican II, Lectio Publications, 2021.

Books by Fr Peter Fehlner available from the Academy of the Immaculate: 

Mary at the Foot of the Cross 1: Millennium with Mary
from $10.00

Mary at the Foot of the Cross 1: Millennium with Mary

Various Authors

A compendium of scholars' work on Mary   With so much attention focused today on whether the Church should define the long-standing traditional tea...

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from $10.00

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