Joseph A. Senke, O.S.A.


1912 – 1992 (November 13)

Joseph Aloysius Senke was born September 21, 1912 in Chicago, Illinois to John Senke and Mary Mockkitis, and was baptized on October 13, 1912 at Holy Cross Church there. He began his secondary education at Fox Valley Catholic High School, Aurora, Illinois, but transferred to Augustinian Academy, the preparatory seminary in Staten Island, New York, where he received his diploma in 1931. He was received into the novitiate on September 12, 1931, and professed simple vows on September 13, 1932 and solemn vows on September 13, 1935. He undertook undergraduate studies at Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, and earned a B. A. in Philosophy in 1936. He then pursued theological studies at the Gregorian University, Rome, earning an S.T.L. in 1940. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 9, 1939, in Rome.

Father Senke’s first assignment was in 1940 to Holy Rosary Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts. In the summer of 1942 he was affiliated to the new Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, and was assigned to teach at St. Rita High School, Chicago. In 1945 he became assistant pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul Church, Rockford, Illinois, but returned to St. Rita High School in 1947. From September, 1958 to July, 1959, he was assigned to St. Monica Novitiate, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He served as Socius Provincial and Secretary of the Province from 1952 to 1959.

He was transferred in 1959 to St. Rita Parish, Chicago, as assistant pastor. From 1968 to 1971 he was assistant pastor and prior at St. Anthony Parish, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
Because of ill health, Father Senke was transferred in 1971 to St. Augustine Parish, Detroit, Michigan. He was chaplain at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Detroit, for five months during 1972. Later that year he was named assistant pastor of St. Patrick Church, Dallas, Texas. In 1976 he ministered for a short time at St. Theresa Church, Collinsville, Oklahoma and at St. Luke Church, Irving, Texas.

Father Senke retired from active ministry in 1977 at Austin Catholic High School Friary, Detroit. In 1978 he moved to St. Joseph Parish, Pekin, Illinois, and in 1981, to St. Rita Monastery, Chicago. His last days were spent at Chateau Village Nursing Home, Willowbrook, Illinois.

For many years Father Senke suffered from diabetes and its complications, which led to an amputation of a leg and finally to kidney failure. He died November 13, 1992, at the age of 80. He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.

Father Senke had a great love for the Order and all things Augustinian. He was a quiet presence in the communities to which he belonged and gave himself generously to community life and concerns.