Charles H. Pickar, O.S.A.

1907 – 1975 (September 1)

Charles H. Pickar was born in Pottstown, PA, on May 18, 1907, to Bernard Pickar and Rose Adams. He was a member of the first novice class at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, NY, which began on August 15, 1925. He pronounced simple vows on August 16, 1926, and solemn vows on the same date in 1929. He graduated from Villanova College, Villanova, PA and was ordained a priest on June 14, 1932 in Washington, D.C,. Immediately after ordination he studied in Rome where he received an S.T.L. from both Saint Monica’s International College and the Gregorian University. He also received the S.S.L. from the Biblical Institute in Rome.

Returning to the United States in 1937, Father Pickar was assigned to the Augustinian College in Washington DC, where he served in many capacities, as sub-prior, prior, professor, confessor, and counselor. He was elected Definitor of the Province in 1956. In 1965 he was assigned as prior of the community at Merrimack College, but his election that same year as Assistant General of the Order took him to Rome. He was re-elected Assistant General in 1971.

Father Pickar was a noted Biblical Scholar, and was an editor of the New American Bible. In June, 1975, ill health forced him to resign as Assistant General. Suffering a great deal from the pains of pervasive cancer, he entered Bryn Mawr Hospital and died suddenly on September 1 at the age of 68. More than 90 friars concelebrated his funeral Mass together with the Prior General, Vicar General, and the Priors Provincial of North America. Father Pickar was buried in the community cemetery at Saint Mary’s Hall, Villanova. His remains were later re-interred in the Augustinian Plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken.

Father Theodore Tack, Prior General of the Order during Father Pickar’s term as Assistant General, and at the time of his death, spoke of him as “a true community man, who understood well Saint Augustine’s admonition that ‘the first reason for which you have come together is to live in harmony and to be of one mind and heart intent upon God.’ He loved the Order, and he sought to bring peace, harmony and happiness to his community and to each member in that community. He was gentle with all, easily approachable, a respect counselor, a friend to all his brother Augustinians.”