John J. Vrana, O.S.A.

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1906 – 1983 (June 24)

John Joseph Vrana, the son of John Vrana and Josephine Shimek, was born in the Bronx, New York, on December 7, 1906. He became a postulant of the Order at Villanova in 1920, and after completion of high school, was received into the novitiate on June 25, 1924. He professed temporary vows on June 26, 1925, and solemn vows on June 26, 1928. Upon graduation from Villanova College in 1928 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, he studied theology at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on June 9, 1931.

Father Vrana’s first assignment was to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, Pa, where he taught in the College from 1931 to 1961. In 1934, he received a Master of Arts degree from Villanova, and in 1938 was named head of the Graphics Department in the Villanova School of Technology. In 1942 he was awarded at Master in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. While at Villanova he created and directed Villanova Press and was the liaison officer among architects, contractors, and administrators of the University in the erection of twelve new buildings. From 1942 to 1956 he oversaw the photography for College and sports events.

In 1961, Father Vrana became the founding pastor of the Parish of The Resurrection of Our Lord in Dania, Florida, and was also named prior there. He also assisted in the design and construction of the first buildings of Biscayne College in Miami. In 1968 he was assigned to Our Lady of the Angels Church in Jacksonville, FL, as prior and pastor, and in 1971, he was appointed prior of Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova. After several months, however, he was appointed pastor of Saint Mary’s Church, Waterford, N.Y. In 1979 he was retired to the community at Saint John the Baptist Church, Schaghticoke, N.Y., where he died on June 24, 1983.

An affable man of gentle good humor, Father Vrana consistently created an atmosphere of warmth and genuine care both in Augustinian community and among the people he served. Although in painful ill health in his final years, he valiantly presided at daily Eucharist and delivered moving homilies which sprang from the depths of a soul nourished by faithful prayer. Up to the end he also shared his many talents in fine arts and graphics with local Augustinian communities and laity.Father Vrana is buried in the Augustinian plot at Saint John Cemetery, Troy, N.Y.