Francis A. Diehl, O.S.A.

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1895 – 1973 (February 24)

Francis Aloysius Diehl who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 8, 1895, was one of 12 children of William Diehl and Katherine Weldon. Among his brothers, was Father Cornelius Diehl, O.S.B. of Belmont Abbey in North Carolina. Francis entered Saint Rita’s Hall at Villanova, Pa. in 1908, and was received into the novitiate there in June, 1912. He professed first vows on June 20, 1913, and solemn vows on June 23, 1916. He graduated from Villanova College in that same latter year and was ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 1919 by Archbishop Dennis Dougherty in the Overbrook Seminary. Father Diehl received a Master of Science degree from Villanova and an S.T.L. from Saint Monica’s International College in Rome. He also did graduate work at Oxford, England, from 1936 to 1938.

Father Diehl was assigned to Villanova College from 1920 to 1936 and again from 1938-1950, where he taught philosophy. During the war years he also served as a civilian chaplain at the Naval Air Station in Atlantic City. In 1950, he was appointed Pastor of Saint Mary’s Parish in Waterford, New York. He became prior in 1953 and remained prior and pastor until 1959. During his service as pastor he built both the parish and convent. In 1959, he retired and took up residence, first at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Bronx, N.Y., and then at Mount Augustine, Staten Island. He retired to the Villanova Monastery in 1972, where he remained active until his sudden death in Albany, New York, on February 24, 1973. He was buried in the Community Cemetery at Saint Mary’s Hall, Villanova. His body was later moved with that of other friars to the Augustinian Plot of Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.