Edward J. Burns, O.S.A.

1915 – 1999 (January 26)

Edward John Burns was born on October 10, 1915, in Torrington, Connecticut, to Edward Burns and Judith Palm, and was baptized at St. Francis Church in the same town. He received his early education at St. Francis Parochial School and Torrington High School. In September 1932, he enrolled in the Commerce and Finance Department at Villanova College, as a candidate for the BA Degree in Economics which he received in June 1937. He entered the Novitiate of Our Mother of Good Counsel, New Hamburg, New York, on September 9, 1934, professed first vows on September 10, 1935 and made his solemn profession three years later. After completion of his philosophy course at Villanova College, he pursued theological studies from 1937 to 1941 at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. On June 10, 1940, he was ordained to the priesthood at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., by Michael Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore. In February 1945, Father Burns received the Ph.D, in Economics from The Catholic University of America.

In February 1944, Father Burns received his first assignment to Villanova College, where he taught Economics for three years. In 1947, he took up residence at St. Laurence O’Toole Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and became one of the founding friars of Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass. In addition, he served as Director of Business Administration, Sacristan and counselor for the community. In 1951, he was assigned to Universidad de Santo Tomas de Villanueva, Havana, Cuba. There he served as Director of Public Relations, Sub-Prior, Treasurer, Dean of Economics, and Sacristan. During his assignment in Cuba, Father Burns returned to Merrimack College to teach taught summer sessions. In 1959, he became professor once again at Merrimack College and Director of the Liberal Arts program. In 1969, he was named dean and later vice president of Biscayne College, Miami, Florida. In 1972, he founded the bi-lingual institute which enabled many Cuban exiles to earn college degrees.

In 1978, Father Burns volunteered for the Augustinian Missions in Peru, where he served principally in Morropon and its surrounding missions. In 1986, he returned from Peru, to become prior of St Joseph Community, Greenwich, New York. In 1994, he retired to Casa San Lorenzo of Saint Thomas University, Miami.

In 1996, due to ill health, he took up residence at Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Father Burns was a capable teacher and administrator and at the same time a caring pastor. Through reading, talks, discussions, and continuing education he became aware of changing times and adjusted his life to serve the people. He was involved in the Charismatic and Cursillo Movements and in ministries at correctional facilities. In addition, he wrote several articles on various subjects, his last, in March 1998, on Biblical Geography: A Neglected Subject. In 1985 the bishop of Chulucanas, Peru, had conferred on Father Burns, the Order of the Chasqui, an ecclesiastical award to recognize outstanding and continuous efforts on behalf of that missionary diocese. In 1986, Father Burns was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from the Catholic University of America. 

Father Burns passed away on January 26, 1999. Funeral services were conducted at St. Thomas of Villanova Church, Villanova, Pa., with interment at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.