Father Tom Sullivan was born in the late 1920's and raised Catholic, the youngest of six. He started his seminary studies in his hometown of St. Louis in 1942 at the Cathedral Latin School. In 1946 he joined the Columban Fathers, the Irish missionary society, where he studied in Bristol, Rhode Island before being ordained in Omaha, Nebraska. After his ordination, the Columbans sent him to Yang Yang, Korea where he served for a dozen years in a town near the 38th parallel with no other English speakers and no electricity.
In 1967 Father Sullivan finished his Korean tours and returned to the U.S. where he earned a Masters Degree in English at St. Louis University and in 1971, attended the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop. He was a seminary instructor before moving to the Diocese of Saint Augustine Florida. There he had assignments to serve as pastor in area parishes and as teacher to middle and high school students in Jacksonville, Florida.
After three years as pastor of parishes in Crescent City and Fernandina Beach, he served for twenty-four years as pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church and School in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville. He put together religion courses and wrote dramas for students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. "The kids and folks at St. Paul's were wonderful to me," he recalls.
Retired in 2007, Fr. Sullivan remains active, celebrating mass Monday through Saturday at 7:20 a.m. at St. Vincent Medical Center's Chapel and at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays at the Riverside nursing home St. Catherine Labouré Manor.