Francis J. Cavanaugh, O.S.A.

1910 – 1988 (October 27)

Francis Joseph Cavanaugh was born December 4, 1910 in Hoosick Falls, New York, to Patrick Francis and Mary Ladden. He was baptized December 11, 1910 at Immaculate Conception Church, there, and received his elementary education at Immaculate Conception Parochial School. Frank began his secondary education at Hoosick Falls High School, but transferred to Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y., as a postulant, where he earned his diploma. He was received into the novitiate on September 9, 1928, and professed simple vows in the Order on September 10, 1929. He made his solemn profession on September 10, 1932, and earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1933. 

He started theological studies in 1933 at Gregorian University, Rome, but due to illness returned to the United States the following year, and continued studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. which he completed in 1937. He later earned an MA from Villanova College in 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1936. While still a theology student, he was appointed, in 1936, acting sub-master of professed students at St. Mary’s Hall, Villanova. In 1937 he was assigned to Cascia Hall Preparatory School, Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a teacher. When the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel was founded in 1941, Father Cavanaugh was affiliated to that Province. In 1944 he was assigned to St. Matthew Parish, Flint, Michigan, as assistant pastor. Shortly thereafter he was transferred to St. Augustine Parish, Detroit, Michigan, also as assistant pastor.

In 1953, Father Cavanaugh was named Vice-Rector of St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois. In 1956 he became principal of Mendel Catholic High School, Chicago, and was elected to the Province Council. In 1959, he was assigned to Austin Catholic High School, Detroit, as teacher, and also as prior of the local Augustinian community.

Father Cavanaugh was elected Prior Provincial of the Midwest Province in 1962, and was a member of the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery Community, Olympia Fields, Ill. When the Provincial headquarters moved to Evanston, Ill. in 1966, Father Cavanaugh relocated there. During his administration the seminary system was enlarged and the Province accepted responsibility for a large mission territory centered in Chulucanas, Peru. At the conclusion of two terms of office as Prior Provincial in 1968, he became comptroller of the Province. In 1972, he was assigned to St. Augustine Seminary, Holland, Michigan, where he remained until 1977, when he moved to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields. He remained a member of that community until his death October 27, 1988.

Father Cavanaugh proposed many new and creative ideas for the Province. His interest and support of the Augustinian Missions in Peru never ceased. At the same time, he was equally concerned for the financial solvency of the Province. He is buried in Hoosick Falls, his home town, at Immaculate Conception Cemetery.