Edward J. Chapman, O.S.A.

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1917 – 1986 (July 2)

Edward Joseph Chapman was born April 23, 1917 in Centralia, Pennsylvania to Joseph Chapman and Anne Lavelle. He was baptized April 29, 1917, at St. Ignatius Church, in that city, and received his elementary education in the parish’s elementary school. He attended St. Ignatius High School in Centralia, for three years, and Conyngham Township High School, Aristes, PA., where he earned his diploma in 1934. Edward did post-graduate studies, as a postulant, at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, and was received into the novitiate on September 9, 1935. He professed simple vows in the Order on September 10, 1936, and solemn vows, on September 10, 1939. Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, awarded him a B. A. in Philosophy in 1940, after which he pursued theological studies from 1940 to 1944 at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 1943. He did graduate studies at Catholic University of America, Washington, and received an M. A. in Education from Villanova University, Villanova, in 1958.

Father Chapman was affiliated to the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel in 1944, and was assigned to St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, as a teacher. In 1952 he was transferred to Austin Catholic High School, Detroit, Michigan, where he taught, and served as Dean of Men and Director of Studies. His calm, firm and fair manner was a positive formative influence on a great number of students. In 1960 he became a member of the Augustinian Mission Band, but returned to educational ministry in 1962 when he was named Principal of St. Augustine Seminary, Holland, Michigan.

When the Augustinians of the Midwest in 1963 accepted responsibility for missionary work in northern Peru, Father Chapman was one of the first friars to volunteer. He was assigned in 1964 to San Isidro Parish, Morropón, Peru, and was named pastor there in 1965.

For the next 20 years he ministered tirelessly to the people of Morropón and 35 small villages in the surrounding area at the edge of the Peruvian desert and the foothills of the Andes Mountains, preaching the Gospel while also looking after the material needs of the people, especially the poorest. He was particularly concerned about the young people in his parish, many of whom had no opportunity for a formal education. He founded Colegio Santa Rita, where children, particularly girls, could learn. The school did not charge tuition, and the only requirement for enrollment was that the student’s family be poor.

In 1984, experiencing ill health, he returned to Chicago to seek medical care. He was assigned to St. Rita Parish, Chicago, where his health slowly declined until the time of his death in the morning of July 2, 1986. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.