Conversations with Richard Purcell:
The Adventures and Reflections of a San Francisco Gay Priest

Susan Casslan, Author of Conversations with Richard Purcell
Original Date: Thursday, April 5, 7:30 pm

Download MP3 Audio File Here (7.2 MB)

Richard Purcell was an openly gay Franciscan priest who died in 2011 of Lou Gehrig's disease. Although he had irreverent views of the Catholic Church, Purcell was widely known for his spiritual insights and his service to the poor. He lived as a true Franciscan, with profound insights gained from his two decades of work with Native Americans in Arizona. Purcell's final years were spent in San Francisco, where he ran a homeless shelter for men with AIDS. Although Purcell eventually became completely paralyzed, the peace and joy he exhibited throughout his illness were highly contagious. In this book, Susan Casslan, one of Purcell's caregivers in his final years, documents his journey. The book touches on healing from grief, the reconciling of sexuality with spirituality, and gives an insider's view San Francisco history and culture, where Purcell lived and worked.

Susan Purcell lives in San Francisco; she was part of the community that surrounded Richard Purcell as his physical condition deteriorated. Her nonfiction has appeared in Communion and El Tecolote, and she has published a chapbook entitled 24th Street and Other Poems.

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