Michael Scanlan was born in Far Rockaway, New York, on December 1, 1931, to Vincent M. Scanlan and Marjorie O'Keefe Scanlan. Given a strong Catholic upbringing, he matriculated to Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he received his bachelor's degree at the age of twenty-two in 1953.
In 1956, Scanlan graduated from Harvard Law School and from there gained admittance to the New York Bar Association. He then served as Staff Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force. He attended graduate studies in political science and higher education administration at Catholic University and Boston University.
Scanlan entered the Franciscan Third Order Regular in 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1964 after having graduated from St. Francis Seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He served as acting dean of the College of Steubenville and as a lecturer in theology from 1964-1966, and from 1966-1969, as dean of the General Honors Program. Father Scanlan was appointed rector-president of St. Francis Major Seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania, in 1969. He accepted the office of president of the College of Steubenville in 1974, a position he held until 2000, when he was named Franciscan University's first chancellor.
In addition to his duties as University chancellor, Father Scanlan is president of FIRE (A Catholic Alliance for Faith, Intercession, Repentance, and Evangelism), and a member of the Board for the Christian Film and Television Commission, Campaign for America National Committee, the Advisory Board for the Institute on Religious Life, and the Board of Directors of Renewal Ministries.
Father Scanlan has published numerous articles in religious periodicals and over sixteen books and booklets. He has also spoken at numerous national and international conferences and frequently leads pilgrimages and retreats throughout the world with Franciscan University Journeys.
Father Scanlan received the Cross Pro Ecclesia and Pontifice in 1990, the Founders Award from Fellowship of Catholic Scholars in 1993, and the Protector Award from the Pro-Life Action League in 1995. He holds honorary degrees from the College of Steubenville (LittD, 1972), Williams College (LLD, 1978), and St. Francis College (MDiv, 1975; PhD, 1987).
List of books
- The Power in Penance (Ave Maria Press, 1972)
- Inner Healing (Paulist Press, 1974)
- Portion of My Spirit (Aperture, 1979)
- Deliverance from Evil Spirits (Servant Books, 1980),
- Turn to the Lord: A Call to Repentance (Servant Books, 1984)
- The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje: An Historical Account With Interviews (Franciscan University Press)
- Let the Fire Fall (Servant Books, 1986)
- And Their Eyes Were Opened (Servant Publications, 1987)
- Healing Principles: The Ten Basic Keys to Successful Prayer (Servant Publications, 1987)
- Repentance: A Guide to Receiving God's Forgiveness (Servant Publications, 1989)
- The Truth About Trouble (Servant Books, 1989)
- Titles of Jesus (Franciscan University Press, 1990)
- Prayers and Blessings for Daily Life in Christ: Compiled from Catholic Tradition Past and Present (Franciscan University Press, 1990)
- Appointment with God (Franciscan University Press, 1990)
- Rosary Companion (Franciscan University Press, 1993)
- The Older Brother Returns: Finding a Renewed Sense of God's Love and Mercy (Attic Studio Press, 1995)
- What Does God Want?: A Practical Guide to Making Decisions (Our Sunday Visitor, 1996)