Rev. J. Raymond Collins, O.S.A. (1902-1988)
Rev. J. Raymond Collins, O.S.A., entered eternal life on August 10, 1988.
John Raymond Collins was born on August 12, 1902, in Troy, New York, to John T. and Alice (Ryan) Collins. He was baptized on August 20, 1902, at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Troy. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on April 21, 1912, in the same church.
Raymond is a graduate of St. Augustine Catholic Elementary School and St. Augustine Catholic High School, both in Troy. He was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on January 15, 1923. He professed simple (temporary) vows in the Order of St. Augustine on January 16, 1924, and solemn (permanent) vows on January 16, 1927.
He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1926. He then began his theological studies at Villanova and concluded them in 1930 at the new Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He earned an M.S. in Physics from Villanova College in 1929. He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1929.
Father Collins was assigned in 1930 as a teacher at Fox Valley Catholic High School, Aurora, Illinois. When the Augustinians moved from Fox Valley in 1933 to St. Thomas High School, Rockford, Illinois, he moved with them. From 1938 to 1951, he served as Dean of Studies at St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois.
When the new Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel (Augustinians of the Midwest) was founded in 1941, Father Collins was affiliated to that Province.
In 1951, Father Collins was transferred to St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, as Assistant Pastor and Procurator (Business Manager) of the community. He served as a member of the Province Council from 1951 to 1957.
He was named Pastor of St. Augustine Catholic Parish, Detroit, Michigan, in 1957. He also served as Prior (local superior) and Procurator of the Augustinian community there. In 1965, he was assigned to St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago, serving as Associate Pastor and Prior.
Father Collins was named Prior of St. Joseph Mission House, Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1968. This house was the headquarters of the Augustinian Mission Band. The Mission Band led spiritual retreats and conducted parish missions across the United States.
He became a Senior Friar in 1971 and moved to Austin Friary, Detroit. In 1978, he returned to St. Augustine Parish, Detroit.
In his final years, Father Collins became feeble because of muscular difficulties. He took up residence in Lourdes Nursing Home, Pontiac, Michigan. During this time, Rev. John Crepeau was very dedicated in giving friendship, care and support to Father Collins. Father Crepeau had been an Altar Server at St. Augustine Church during Father Collins' pastorate there. Later, Father Crepeau himself served as Pastor of St. Augustine Church.
Father Collins was noted for the consistency of his schedule. This included a daily walk, during which he dedicated himself to prayer. A memory of many students at Austin Catholic High School is the sight of Father Collins in a flowing cape with his black hat pulled firmly down over his brow as he took his afternoon stroll in Balduck Park, located across the street from the school.
Father Collins died August 10, 1988, two days short of his 86th birthday.
He is buried beside his parents in St. John Cemetery in his home town, Troy.