Francis J. Ludwig, O.S.A.

1904 – 1951 (February 16)

Francis Joseph Ludwig, son of Francis Ludwig and Mary Reed, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 8, 1904. His uncle was Brother Vincent Reed, O.S.A., a member of our Province. While he was a child, Francis’ family moved to Pottstown, where he attended Saint Aloysius Parochial School. He entered the Augustinian Preparatory Scholasticate, Saint Rita Hall, Villanova, as a postulant in 1920. He was received into the novitiate on June 25, 1924, and professed simple vows on June 26, 1925, and solemn vows on June 26, 1928. He graduated from Villanova College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy in 1928, and completed his theological training at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood in Washington at the National Shrine by Bishop Thomas Shahan on June 9, 1931.

Father Ludwig’s first and only assignment, from 1932 to 1951, was as a professor of biology on the faculty of Villanova College. He continued his graduate studies during these years at the University of Pennsylvania, with special research on microscopic organisms at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The University of Pennsylvania awarded him a Master of Science degree in 1939 and a Doctorate in Biology in 1944. 

Father Ludwig was truly a beloved Augustinian on the campus. He was prefect for many years in Alumni and Fedigan Halls and was known for his patient and considerate work with the collegians. The professed students at Saint Mary’s Hall were particularly indebted to him for his perseverance in introducing them to the mysteries of biological science. His busy apostolic life was brought to a sudden close when he suffered a fatal heart attack after undergoing a major operation at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Philadelphia, on February 16, 1951, at the age of 46. Father James Donnellon, O.S.A., prior of St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery celebrated the Mass of Requiem. Father Joseph Dougherty, O.S.A., preached. Father Ludwig is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova University.