Charles Valerian Lucier, O.P.
Birth: October 24, 1913
Profession: August 16, 1935
Ordination: June 5, 1941
Died: November 20, 1997
Charles Jeremiah Lucier was born in Mattoon, IL the youngest of five sons born to Emery and Catherine (Bauer) Lucier. After attending St. Joseph parochial school in that city, and its public high school, he went to Providence College, Providence, RI where he spent two years as a pre-ecclesiastical student.
Charles entered the novitiate of St. Joseph Province in the summer of 1934 at St. Rose Priory, Springfield, KY and received the name of Valerian. He was professed here the following year. He pursued his philosophical studies at the Dominican Houses of Studies at River Forest, IL and St. Joseph Priory, Somerset, OH (1935-1938) and theology at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC. (1938-1942). He was ordained in that city by Archbishop Michael J. Curley of Baltimore, MD.
Fr. Lucier began his priestly ministry at Holy Innocents Parish, Pleasantville, NY (1942-1944). He enlisted as a military chaplain in the United States Navy and served from 1944-1947. Fr. Valerian was then assigned to St. Patrick Rectory in Columbus, OH. Here he began probably the most famous part of his priestly career. From 1947-1965 he served as chaplain at the Ohio State Penitentiary. Having faithfully fulfilled this ministry, he was assigned in 1966 as an assistant pastor at St. Dominic Parish, Washington, DC. After one year there he spent the next eight years (1967-1975) at St. Mary Parish, Johnson City, TN. Between 1975-1992 he served at St. Dominic Parish, Youngstown, OH (1975-1980) and St. Thomas Parish, Zanesville, OH (1980-1992). Failing health caused his transfer to the Center for Assisted Living at St. Dominic Priory, Washington, DC where he died after a short illness.
In his letter written to Fr. T.S. McDermott, O.P., Provincial, young Charles stated he owed his vocation to the Order to Fr. Timothy Sparks, OP, a native of Mattoon, and to a Dominican Sister. He also wrote: “As a priest of God you know the thoughts which pass through any young man’s mind when he thinks about his future. The thoughts of being a missionary in China, a life of prayer, working among the Negroes or Indians, becoming a missionary among our own people, or teaching and working with boys. But one cannot do all these things. One should be glad in doing anything just so it is for the honor and love of God.” While Fr. Charles Valerian Lucier could not accomplish all these things, he did practice his priestly ministry for the honor and love of God. He was buried in the Dominican plot at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Washington, DC.