Francis X. McGowan, O.S.A.

1854 – 1903 (October 4)

Francis Xavier McGowan, the son of Andrew McGowan and Catherine Higgins, was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on January 10, 1854. He entered Villanova College in 1869 and became a novice there on January 12, 1873. He made his simple profession of vows on January 25, 1874 and was solemnly professed on January 26, 1877. He was ordained to the priesthood at Villanova by Bishop Shanahan of Harrisburg on July 14, 1877.

Father McGowan taught English Literature at Villanova College, and in 1884 became subprior of the community there. In 1887 he was assigned to Saint Augustine Parish in Philadelphia, and in 1890 was transferred to Saint Augustine in Lansingburg, New York. He returned to Villanova in 1894, and then again to upstate New York at Immaculate Conception, Hoosick Falls. In 1902, he was once again appointed to Saint Augustine, Philadelphia.

Father McGowan was the author of the centenary “Sketch of Saint Augustine’s”, two books of sermons, a translation of “Catherine Emmerich”, and was founder and editor of Holy Family Magazine. As director of the Province Mission Band for 8 years, he was regarded as one of the most outstanding preachers of his day.

Father McGowan died in Philadelphia on October 4, 1903 at the age of 49. He is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova.