Francis J. McShane, O.S.A.

1846 – 1932 (March 28)

Francis Joseph McShane, son of Terence McShane and Bridget McNichol was born  February, 1846, in Aughnacloy, County Tyrone, Ireland and was baptized on February 23, of that year. When he immigrated to the United States, he lived with the Holy Cross Brothers in South Bend, Indiana. On January 7, 1868, he entered the novitiate at Villanova, Pennsylvania, professed simple vows on January 8, 1869, and solemn vows on January 22, 1872. He was ordained to the priesthood on February 29, 1872, by Bishop James E. Wood, in Saint Charles Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The first recorded activities of Father McShane after his ordination state that on June 25, 1874, he began working with diocesan priests on the missions located in Harrisburg, Centralia, and Elizabethtown, Pennsylvaniaa. He also served at missions in Texas. In September 1875, he was appointed pastor of Saint John the Baptist Church, Schaghticoke, New York, from which he also attended Saint Monica Parish, Johnsonville. In September 1877, he was transferred to Saint James Minor Parish, Carthage, N.Y., and in July 1882, he was appointed pastor of Our Mother of Consolation Parish in Chestnut Hill, Pa.

On July 27, 1894, Father McShane was appointed President and procurator of Villanova College. A year later he returned to Saint James Minor Parish, Carthage, and for a number of years he served as a Provincial Counselor. From 1898 to 1914, he was pastor of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was Father McShane who built the stone church, which opened in 1905, a very large parish house, a parochial school and a sisters’ convent. In 1918, he was assigned to establish Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. In 1926, he returned to Villanova.

Father McShane died at age of 86, in Misericordia Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 28, 1932, one month after he celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. He is buried in Saint Thomas Monastery Cemetery, Villanova.

The following letter, dated May 9, 1932, was sent to a friend of Father McShane, by John J. Farrell, O.S.A., Prior of Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, Pa. “The enclosed memorial card will suggest frequent prayers for the eternal repose of one whose friendship was a blessing, whose good example was an inspiration, whose solicitude and labors in the service of God, always merited praise and commendation. We should not permit the darkness of death to obscure our vision of Father McShane as we knew him – faithful, devoted, self-sacrificing, exemplary, charitable, never wearied in his efforts for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Nor should his absence make us forgetful of his patronage, his wise counsel, his strong defense of right, his sympathy with the sorrowing, and his eagerness to extend a helping hand to the oppressed and trouble-burdened. Prayer is always pleasing to God, and, true friendship never dies.”