John J. McShea, O.S.A.

1908 – 1965 (February 1)

John Joseph McShea, son of Joseph McShea and Eunice McCarron, was born in Philadelphia on July 1, 1908. He attended Saint Rita Parochial School, Philadelphia, and Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York. Received as a novice on August 15, 1925, he professed simple vows on August 16, 1926, and solemn vows on August 26, 1929. Following philosophical studies at Villanova College he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929, and at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, did his theological course. He was ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine by Bishop Emmit Walsh of Charleston, South Carolina, on June 14, 1932. Catholic University awarded him a Master of Arts degree in English in 1933.

Father McShea’s first appointment was as a teacher at Colegio san Agustin, Havana, Cuba. In 1935, he was sent to Oxford, England, and was the first Augustinian to study there since the Reformation. He received an A.B. (Oxon) in 1937 and an M.A. (Oxon) in 1946. Returning to the United States he was appointed to the faculty at Villanova College in 1937, and remained there until 1963. Father McShea was elected definitor of the Province in 1950, a trustee of the University in 1962, and co-edited an English prose reader Rendezvous in 1958. On January 18, 1963 he was appointed prior of the Augustinian community at Our Mother of Consolation Parish, Chestnut Hill, in which office he served until his death.

Father McShea enjoyed the happy faculty of conveying to his students his deep and abiding knowledge and enthusiasm from English literature. An avid reader, he projected a literary creativity of remarkable proportions. A gentle priest, he was a cultured Augustinian who left a lasting impression on those who knew him.

Father McShea died in Saint Joseph Hospital, Philadelphia, on February 1, 1965, and is buried in the Community Cemetery at Villanova.