Rev. Edward J. Chapman, O.S.A. (1917-1986)
Rev. Edward J. Chapman, O.S.A., entered eternal life on July 2, 1986.
Edward Joseph Chapman was born on April 23, 1917, in Centralia, Pennsylvania, to Joseph and Anne (Lavelle) Chapman. He was baptized on April 29, 1917, at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Centralia. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on November 11, 1928, in the same church.
His elementary education took place at St. Ignatius Catholic School, Centralia. He attended St. Ignatius High School, Centralia, for three years. Because St. Ignatius High School did not offer a fourth year curriculum, Edward transferred for his Senior Year to Conyngham Township High School, Aristes, Pennsylvania, where he earned his diploma in 1934.
Edward did post-graduate studies during 1934 and 1935 at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York. He was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on September 9, 1935. He professed simple (temporary) vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 10, 1936, and solemn (permanent) vows on September 10, 1939. He was awarded a B.A. in Philosophy in 1940 by Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania.
He pursued theological studies from 1940 to 1944 at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He was ordained a priest on May 29, 1943.
He did graduate studies at Catholic University of America, Washington, and received an M.A. in Education from Villanova University, Villanova, in 1958.
Father Chapman was affiliated to the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel (Augustinians of the Midwest) in 1944. He was assigned to St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, as a teacher. In 1952, he was transferred to Austin Catholic High School, Detroit, Michigan, where he served as a teacher, Dean of Men and Director of Studies. His calm, firm and fair manner was a positive formative influence on a great number of students.
In 1960, he became a member of the Augustinian Mission Band, which included friars who led spiritual retreats and preached parish missions throughout the United States. He returned to educational ministry in 1962 when he was named Principal of St. Augustine Seminary, Holland, Michigan.
When the Augustinians of the Midwest accepted responsibility for missionary work in northern Peru in 1963, Father Chapman was one of the first friars to volunteer to go there. He was assigned in 1964 to San Isidro Parish, Morropón, Peru, and was named Pastor there in 1965.
For the next 20 years, he ministered tirelessly to the people of Morropón and 35 small villages in the surrounding area, at the edge of the Peruvian desert and the foothills of the Andes Mountains. He preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, brought the Sacraments to the people, and guided them along the paths of Christian living. He also looked after the material needs of the people, especially those who had very little in the way of earthly goods.
Father Chapman was particularly concerned about the young people in his parish, many of whom had no opportunity for a formal education. He founded a school, Colegio Santa Rita, where children, particularly girls, could go to learn. The school did not charge tuition and the only requirement for enrollment was that the student's family be poor.
In 1984, experiencing ill health, he returned to Chicago to seek medical care. He was assigned to St. Rita Parish, Chicago. His health slowly declined until the time of his death on the morning of July 2, 1986.
He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.