Charles F. Hart, O.S.A.

1897 – 1982 (November 15)

Charles Francis Hart, son of Daniel Hart and Mary Carney, was born in Andover, Massachusetts, on May 23, 1897, and was baptized by Father Thomas A. Field, O.S.A., at Saint Augustine Church. He enrolled at the Augustinian Preparatory Scholasticate at Saint Rita Hall, Villanova, and was received as a novice on June 15, 1918. He professed simple vows on June 25, 1919, and solemn vows on June 25, 1922. He graduated from Villanova College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1922. After completing his theological training at Villanova he was ordained there in the College chapel, along with his brother, Father Leo A Hart, O.S.A., on August 2, 1925.

After a year’s study at Catholic University, Washington, DC, Father Hart was assigned to Saint Rita Parish in South Philadelphia in 1926. From 1927 until 1930 he served as assistant pastor at Saint Mary’s, Lawrence, Massachusetts. Recognizing his talents as an eloquent preacher, the Prior Provincial named him, in 1930, to the Mission Band with residence at Saint Rita Parish, Philadelphia. In 1933 he returned to Saint Mary’s Lawrence, and was given charge of the Immaculate Conception Church, which he renovated. He also beautified the grounds and organized the Saint Rita Guild. In 1947 the Augustinians were requested to take charge of Sacred Heart Parish in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and to serve as chaplains at the federal penitentiary there. Father Hart was chosen as the pastor and distinguished himself with his care and concern for the prisoners. In recognition of his service his fellow Catholic chaplains across the country chose him for the Saint Dismas award.

In 1958 he returned to Saint Rita Parish, Philadelphia, and the following year was selected as prior and pastor of Saint Augustine in Troy, New York. Here again, in addition to his pastoral duties. Father Hart undertook the task of renovating the church and rectory, and refurbishing the convent, the parish hall, and the grammar school. In 1968 he was assigned as prior of the community of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Jamaica, New York. In 1971 he returned to Saint Augustine, Troy, where he devoted the remaining years of his apostolate.

An engaging, happy friar and priest, Father Hart communicated this spirit to all around him, particularly to those in his own community. God gave him the privilege of celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination among the people he loved so much and served so well — and seven more years besides.

Full of years, Father Charles Francis Hart died in Troy on November 15, 1982, and is buried in the Augustinian plot at Saint John Cemetery, Troy, New York.