10 February 2018

Father Daniel Egan (1915-2000)

Daniel Egan, a Bronx native, joined the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in 1935 and was ordained a priest. A turning point in his life came in 1952, as he was preaching in a church and noticed a woman in grave distress. She confessed that she was a drug addict struggling to kick her habit. Though Egan called every hospital in town, none would admit her: “She was shrugged off as a criminal.” He decided at that moment that he must open a home for women like her. That was the inspiration for Village Haven, a halfway house for women addicts, located across the street from the women’s house of detention.

The location was no accident. As Egan discovered, most of the women in the city jail were drug addicts. And yet few resources at the time were dedicated to recovery from addiction. Most authorities, even medical professionals, wrote off such addicts as hopeless cases. Fr. Egan believed otherwise.

Egan received permission from his order to dedicated himself full time to working with addicts, and he became such an expert in the field that he was dubbed “the Junkie Priest” – a name he happily adopted.

Fr. Egan died on February 10, 2000.

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