Francis P. Fenton, O.S.A.

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1910 – 1983 (May 19)

Francis Patrick Fenton was born October 17, 1910 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Eugene Fenton and Margaret Holden. He was baptized on October 30, 1910 at St. Mary’s Church there, and received his elementary education at St. Mary’s Parochial School. He later attended Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, which granted him a diploma in 1927. He was received into the novitiate on September 8, 1927, and professed simple vows on September 9, 1928. He was solemnly professed on October 18, 1931. Francis earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1932, and pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He was sent to continue the study of Theology at the University of Wurzburg, Germany, but due to illness, he returned in 1933 to Augustinian College. He completed his theological studies in 1935, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, of that year. He earned an M.A. in German from Catholic University of America, Washington, in 1936.

Father Fenton was assigned in 1936 to St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, as a teacher of German. In 1942 he was transferred to St. Rita Parish, Chicago, as assistant pastor. He was named prior of the Augustinian community there in 1944. In 1956 he became assistant pastor of St. Matthew Parish, Flint, Michigan, and prior of the community. In 1959 he was named pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Chicago, where he also served as prior. He returned to St. Rita Parish, Chicago, as pastor in 1968, and, in addition, served on the Provincial Council from 1968 to 1971 and again from 1975 to 1979.He retired in 1980 as pastor of St. Rita, but remained a member of that community and assisted with various ministries in the parish. 

Father Fenton died on May 19, 1983 following a long struggle with cancer. He had been especially known as an outstanding preacher, and guided many spiritual retreats throughout the United States. His leadership played a significant role in the founding of the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel in 1941. He was, additionally, during 1948 and 1949 Executive Director of the Building Fund Drive for Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts. Father Fenton was awarded an honorary Doctor of Education degree from Suffalls University, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1958. 

He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.