Henry A. Fleming, O.S.A.

1826 – 1885 (January 27)

Henry Ambrose Fleming, son of William Fleming and Anna Tanner Ra, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 26, 1826. Reared a staunch Presbyterian, upon reaching manhood he was converted and received into the Church by Father John O’Dwyer, O.S.A., on July 4, 1847. He entered the seminary at Saint Charles but was obliged to discontinue there in order to support his aged mother. He had attended Villanova College from 1851 until 1854, and following his mother’s death in January 1869, he then returned to Villanova several months later as a postulant. He was admitted to the novitiate on January 20, 1870, professed simple vows on January 21, 1871, and then solemn vows on January 25, 1874. Having completed his theological studies at Villanova he was ordained to the priesthood at Saint Charles Seminary in Overbrook by Bishop Wood on May 15, 1874.

Father Fleming was appointed as teacher at the College, became master of novices, and was frequently called upon to give retreats. He was in charge of parochial work at Villanova, and in 1882 was assigned to Saint Mary’s Parish, Lawrence, where he ministered for about eighteen months, until forced to retire on account of chronic ill health.

Father Fleming was a small man of light build and suffered from poor eyesight. He was, however, a thorough worker, a polished scholar and an impassioned preacher, affable, kind and zealous. He died at Villanova on Tuesday, January 27, 1885, at the age of 59, after suffering for several months from a lingering illness. Father Patrick Stanton, O.S.A. was principal celebrant of the Solemn Requiem Mass on Friday, January 30th. Father James Coleman, O.S.A. gave the final absolution. In conformity with Father Fleming’s specific request, no funeral oration was preached. He was buried in the community cemetery at Villanova.