Luke J. Sweeney, O.S.A.

1907 – 1974 (July 2)

Luke J. Sweeney, son of James Sweeney and Isabel Gallagher, was born in Plains, Pennsylvania, on August 2, 1907, and was baptized nine days later at Sacred Heart Church there. He attended Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, as a postulant, and was received into the novitiate on August 15, 1926. He made his first profession of vows on August 16, 1927, and solemn profession on August 16, 1930. He received a B.A. degree in Philosophy from Villanova College, and pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1933. He was awarded an M.A. in Education in 1934 by the Catholic University of America.

Father Sweeney was assigned to Villanova Preparatory in Ojai, CA, in 1934. In 1938 he was transferred to Saint Rita High School in Chicago where he remained until 1941. When the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel began in 1941, Father Sweeney became a member of the Midwestern Province. From 1941 to 1944 he was stationed at Saint Clare of Montefalco Parish in Grosse Pointe, Michigan as associate pastor , and from 1944 to 1965 he was assigned to Saint Rita Parish in Chicago in the same role.

After a brief assignment to Saint Joseph Mission House in Fort Wayne, IN, where he worked on compiling the history of the Midwest Province, he became the first Augustinian pastor of Saint Anthony’ parish in Baton Rouge, LA in 1966. In 1968 he was named pastor of Saint Augustine’s parish in Detroit. In 1972, because of ill health, he retired to the monastery of Austin Catholic Prep in Detroit where he remained until his death on July 2, 1974. Father Sweeney is buried in the Augustinian plot of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Chicago.
Father Sweeney was a personable friar and a good listener who enjoyed the trust of others. His favorite Scripture passage, the parable of the Prodigal Son, was reflected in his attitude of openness to everyone. He was particularly concerned with ministry to children of all ages and the needs of the elderly.