Rev. Francis P. Fenton, O.S.A. (1910-1983)
Rev. Francis P. Fenton, O.S.A. entered eternal life on May 19, 1983.
Francis Patrick Fenton was born on October 17, 1910 in Lawrence, Massachusetts to Eugene and Margaret (Holden) Fenton. He was baptized on October 30, 1910 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Lawrence.
He received his elementary education at St. Mary Catholic School, Lawrence, and his secondary education at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, which granted him a diploma in 1927. Francis was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on September 8, 1927. He professed simple (temporary) vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 9, 1928 and solemn (permanent) vows on October 18, 1931.
Francis earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He began theological studies in 1932 at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He continued his study of Theology during 1932 and 1933 at the University of Wurzburg, Wurzburg, Germany. Because of an illness, he returned in 1933 to Augustinian College, Washington, where he completed his theological studies in 1935. Francis was ordained a priest on June 11, 1935. He earned an M.A. in German from Catholic University of America, Washington, in 1936.
Father Fenton was assigned in 1936 to St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, as a teacher of German. In 1942, he was transferred to St. Rita Parish, Chicago, as Assistant Pastor. He was named Prior (local superior) of the Augustinian community there in 1944.
In 1956, he became Assistant Pastor of St. Matthew Parish, Flint, Michigan, and Prior of the Augustinian community. Father Fenton was named Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago, in 1959, where he also served as Prior. He returned to St. Rita Parish, Chicago, in 1968 as Pastor. In addition, he served on the Province Council from 1968 to 1971 and again from 1975 to 1979.
He retired in 1980 as Pastor of St. Rita, but continued to live there and to assist with various ministries in the parish. He died on May 19, 1983, following a long struggle with cancer.
Father Fenton was especially known as an outstanding preacher. He guided many spiritual retreats throughout the United States. He shared his talents in many other ways too. Father Fenton's leadership played a significant role in the founding of the Augustinian Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel (Augustinians of the Midwest) in 1941. During 1948 and 1949, he was Executive Director of the Building Fund Drive for Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts. He also received an honorary Doctor of Education degree in 1958 from Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts.
He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.