Francis Rigney, OFM
1903 – 1995
Fr. Francis Rigney, OFM, was born in Chicago, Ill., on April 1, 1903. His primary education was received at schools in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Teutopolis, Ill. His secondary education was provided to him at St. Bonaventure High School in Allegany, N.Y., and St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.
He was received into the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 20, 1923, and he professed temporary vows Aug. 21, 1924. Fr. Francis made his profession of solemn vows Aug. 21, 1927, and was ordained a priest at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson on June 9, 1930.
After ordination, Fr. Francis served as assistant master of clerics at St. Anthony’s Friary in Butler, N.J., for two years. He then went to Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y., as a chaplain for one year, after which he became an instructor at St. Francis College in Albuquerque, N.M.
Fr. Francis studied in Freiburg, Germany, for five years, and received his Ph.D. in history in 1940 from the University of Berlin. For nine years, he taught at St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y., where he served as professor and head of the history department as well as dean of the graduate school.
The next five years were spent teaching at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., at St. Jude Educational Institute in Montgomery, Ala., at Hotel Dieu Nurses School in El Paso, Texas, and in Flagstaff, Ariz. Fr. Francis joined the faculty of the University of San Diego where he was professor and head of the history department for nine years. He was named a professor emeritus at San Diego in 1970.
A severe stroke brought Fr. Francis’s teaching career to a sudden halt. He spent his final years at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., where he died on June 12, 1995. He was 92 years old, a professed friar for 70 years and a priest for 65 years.