James B. Gallagher, O.S.A.

1904 – 1973 (June 5)

James Bernard Gallagher was born on October 17, 1904, to Martin Gallagher and Catherine Carroll, and was baptized on October 23, 1904 in the church of Saints Peter and Paul, in Towanda, Pennsylvania. He received his early education at St. Agnes Grammar School and St. Agnes High School, and in 1921, entered the preparatory seminary as a freshman postulant on the campus of Villanova College. On June 23, 1922, he was received as a novice in Corr Hall, at Villanova and on June 24, 1923, he professed first vows. In June 1925, he received his B.A. degree from Villanova and on September 5, 1925, he left for St. Monica’s International College, Rome, Italy, to study theology. On June 24, 1926, he made solemn profession, and on July 29, 1928, James was ordained to the priesthood, by Bishop De Santis in the Leonine College, (later, the Gregorian University) Rome, and on July 30, 1928, he celebrated his first Mass at the Tomb of St. Monica in St. Augustine Church. He continued his studies in Rome, and in 1929, earned his Ph.D. at the Roman Academy of St. Thomas.

Father Gallagher returned to the United States and taught Latin at St. Rita High School in Chicago from 1929 to 1932, and served as school librarian. From 1930 to 1932, he studied library science and medieval history at the University of Chicago. Beginning August 9, 1932, he taught Scholastic Philosophy and English at Villanova College, Villanova, Pa. On June 15, 1936, after a short time teaching at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., he was assigned to the parish of St. Joseph in Greenwich, New York, from which he served on the Mission Band. Preaching missions was the primary focus of his ministry for the next twenty-three years. While providing parish missions he resided at various locations; namely, St. Augustine, Troy, N.Y. from 1938), St. Mary’s in Lawrence, Massachusetts, beginning in 1943, and at St. Thomas Monastery, Villanova, from 1946. In 1959, he was elected Provincial Secretary. In 1962, at the close of his term of office, Father Gallagher was appointed assistant pastor of St. Genevieve’s Parish, Flourtown, Pa., a post he held until 1968, when he became prior and assistant pastor at Old St. Augustine’s Church, in Philadelphia. He served in this capacity until stricken by a severe stroke in 1970. After a period of time in Rosemont Manor he returned to St. Thomas Monastery, where he lived until June 5, 1973 when he passed away in St. Joseph Hospital, Philadelphia.

In addition to giving missions in parishes churches, Father Gallagher also conducted many retreats for religious communities and diocesan clergy. During his teaching years at Villanova, he earned the respect from his students, who expressed their sentiments in the 1934, Belle Air Year Book, “A champion for Scholasticism, whose teaching ability, and obviating of the difficult, have won for him the admiration of his students.” 

A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated in the chapel of St. Mary’s Hall, Villanova, PA., followed by interment at the Augustinian plot, Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.