Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Rest In Peace" Fr. Francis H McGauley, S.J.

Fr. Francis H McGauley, S.J.
Age 86 The Jesuit priest taught math and physics in India for decades and loved telling humorous anecdotes.
By Frederick N. Rasmussen Sun Reporter
July 19, 2008
The Rev. Francis H. McGauley, a Jesuit priest who taught in India for almost 30 years and later was director of St. Francis Xavier House of Prayer at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore, died Tuesday of complications after surgery at Manresa Hall Jesuit Community in Merion Station, Pa. He was 86. Father McGauley was born in Boston and graduated from Framingham High School.

He studied at Georgetown University for three years before entering the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa., in 1942. He pronounced his first vows in 1944. He traveled to India in 1951 as a Jesuit scholar and, after studying Hindi, taught mathematics, physics and catechism at Loyola School in Jamshedpur, India.

After being ordained a priest at De Nobili College in Pune, India, in 1955, Father McGauley spent the next 25 years in India as a teacher, pastor and director of retreats. "He was always concerned about the poor and had a real apostolic heart and a tremendous spirituality. He wanted to make the lives of the people in India better," said the Rev. William Watters, former pastor of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church and now assistant to the provincial of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus.

"He loved the people of India and never forgot them. He remained devoted to them for the rest of his life," Father Watters said. "And his homilies were always rooted in his experiences there."

When Father McGauley's work took him to rural Indian villages, he traveled there aboard a motor scooter and carried a Louisville Slugger baseball bat for protection. "He used the bat to ward off animals (bears) that he sometimes encountered at night," said Father Watters. After Father McGauley returned to the United States in 1980, he became retreat director at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, and was assistant pastor at St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church. From 1981 to 1986, he was director of spiritual exercises at Manresa-on-Severn, the Jesuit retreat house near Annapolis, and from 1986 to 1992, was superior and director of Loyola Retreat House in Faulkner, Charles County. Father McGauley moved to Merion Station in 1992, when he was named director of the Province Infirmary and provincial assistant for health care at Loyola Center at St. Joseph's University, now Manresa Hall. In 2000, he moved to Baltimore where he served for five years as director of St. Francis Xavier House of Prayer and also offered the church's radio Mass on Sunday mornings that was broadcast on WBAL.

Father Watters, who described him as a "giant and humble man who was an extraordinary Jesuit,"

credited him with developing the new ministry. "From small beginnings, he energetically dedicated himself to the work of turning a vision and dream into a reality," he said. "What a treasure he built and has passed on to the next generation of Jesuits and our lay partners." Something of a raconteur, Father McGauley was the guest everyone wanted at their dinner table, Father Wattters said. "He had a very engaging personality and never ever forgot a humorous anecdote. He was such a great storyteller," he said.

The Rev. Michael Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester, was an old friend. "He was a classic old-school Jesuit who had the great common touch. There were never any airs about him,"

Father Roach said. "He was always very approachable, which is a key virtue for a priest, and never drew attention to himself." Father McGauley resided at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Roman Catholic Church in Woodstock from 2005 to 2008, when he moved to Manresa Hall because of failing health. Father McGauley was an avid Red Sox fan. A Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday at St. Ignatius, with burial at 11:30 a.m. today at the Jesuit Cemetery in Wernersville. Surviving are a brother, David O. McGauley of Towson; and a sister, Carolyn Ann McGauley Coady of Salisbury; and many nieces and nephews.
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sj said...

Thank you for reprinting this. I am spending part of my Sunday trying to recapture the many anecdotes I heard from Fr. McGauley: e.g., Fr. McKenna, "the Jesuit parking saint," his encounters with Mother Teresa, the person who collapsed in front of him at Union Station, etc.

Joseph Fromm said...

Thank you for adding to the narrative of a great man. It would be an honor to those threads of grace.