Rev. Leo J. Burke, O.S.A. (1911-1980)
Rev. Leo J. Burke, O.S.A., entered eternal life on September 16, 1980.
Leo Joseph Burke was born on March 24, 1911, in Hoosick Falls, New York, to Thomas J. and Catherine (McGuire) Burke. He was baptized on April 5, 1911, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Hoosick Falls. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on June 7, 1920, at the same church.
Leo received his elementary and secondary education at St. Mary Academy, Hoosick Falls. After receiving his high school diploma in 1928, he entered the Augustinian program of formation at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, where he did a year of post-graduate studies.
He was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on September 10, 1929. He professed simple (temporary) vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 11, 1930, and solemn (permanent) vows on September 11, 1933.
Leo earned a B. A. in Philosophy from Villanova University in 1934. He pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., from 1934 to 1938. He was ordained a priest on June 15, 1937. He did further study in Physics at Catholic University of America, Washington, and at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri.
Father Burke was assigned in 1938 to St. Thomas High School, Rockford, Illinois, as a teacher. He taught at St. Monica Minor Seminary, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, from 1943 to 1949, when the minor seminary program was relocated to St. Augustine Seminary, Holland, Michigan. Father Burke taught there as well until 1953. He also served on the Province Council from 1950 to 1953.
He taught at Austin Catholic High School, Detroit, Michigan, from 1953 to 1968. He was Prior (local superior) of the Augustinian community there from 1953 to 1956 and again from 1965 to 1968. In addition, he was a member of the Province Council from 1956 until 1965.
In 1968, Father Burke was elected Prior Provincial (regional leader) of the Augustinian Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel (Augustinians of the Midwest), residing at the Augustinian Provincialate, Evanston, Illinois.
Upon completing his term of office in 1971, Father Burke returned to Austin Catholic High School, Detroit, where he served another term as Prior. In 1978, he relocated to St. Augustine Catholic Parish, Detroit. He died on September 16, 1980, at Our Lady of Hope Residence, Colonie, New York, after a short illness.
Father Burke was an excellent teacher who motivated his students to attain the high degree of excellence that he expected of them. He was known as a compassionate man. During his term as Prior Provincial, many of the changes mandated by the new Constitutions of the Order, which were approved at the 1968 General Chapter, were implemented under his leadership.
He is buried in the Augustinian plot at St. Mary Cemetery, Hoosick Falls, New York.