John P. Maher, O.S.A.

1909 – 1983 (June 11)

John Patrick Maher, the son of Martin Francis Maher and Catherin McDermott, was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, on May 9, 1909. He attended Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, from 1925 to 1927, and was received as a novice on September 8, 1927. Following a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., he professed temporary vows on September 9, 1928. He proceded to Villanova College where he made his solemn profession on September 9, 1931, and where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1932. After completing a year of theology at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., he was sent to Saint Monica International College, Rome, Italy, for completion of his theological studies. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on July 22, 1934. After ordination he pursued his doctoral degree in theology at the Gregorian University, Rome, and obtained the Doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1937.

Father Maher’s first assignment was to Augustinian College, Washington, DC, in 1937 where he taught dogmatic theology and patristics. On June 27, 1945 he was assigned to Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, PA, where he was chairman of the department of theology of Villanova University until 1957. On February 7, 1957 Father Maher was assigned to Saint Nicholas of Tolenine Parish in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and on November 30, 1961, to Our Mother of Consolation Parish in Chestnut Hill, PA. Father Maher was appointed pastor of Saint Genevieve Parish, Flourtown, PA, in March, 1964, but in July, 1965, he returned to Our Mother Consolation Parish as assistant and remained there until 1983 when he retired at Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, PA. 

In stature Father Maher was of medium height, sturdy, and trim. Sandy haired and bright of eye, he radiated a quiet energy. Competitive and athletically inclined, he unfortunately incurred an injury to the eye in a game of basketball during his first year of study of theology. Although his facial expression was lastingly altered by this accident, his dauntless spirit and sunny disposition were not. Continuing with the regular, and even advanced, theological studies, he achieved a level of competence in his chosen field which gave promise of still greater achievements in the field of scholarship. Among his works were his doctoral dissertation, “Saint Augustine’s Defense of the Hexaemeron against the Manicheans” which was published in the “Catholic Biblical Quarterly”, “Saint Augustine on War and Peace,” NCEA 1942, and “Saint Augustine and Manichean Cosmogony,” Augustinian Studies X, 1978. 

The burden of progressive ill-health stood always in the way of any ongoing efforts in scholarly research. After an illness which afflicted him for years Father Maher died at Chestnut Hill Hospital on June 11, 1983. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA.