Hugo Van Breda, OFM
1901 – 1980
Fr. Hugo Van Breda, OFM, was born in Lier, Belgium, on Oct. 1, 1901. He was received into the novitiate of the Province of St. Joseph Aug. 11, 1918, and professed his temporary vows Aug. 15, 1919.
He spent one year in military service in Belgium and professed his solemn vows Aug. 21, 1926, and was ordained a priest Aug. 29, 1926. Fr. Hugo continued his studies at Louvain University, and after their completion, he was assigned to teach economics and ethics in the clericate in Belgium.
In 1932, he came to America and joined Holy Name Province. For 14 years, he taught at St. Bonaventure College and Seminary in Allegany, N.Y. In 1946, he joined the staff at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, and a year later went to Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., where he taught French and anthropology for 21 years.
Illness forced him to discontinue in the classroom, and he became a patient at Villa Mary Immaculate in Albany, N.Y., assisting in some chaplaincy duties. Fr. Hugo loved people, and among his students, he was a patient and understanding friar. He was a warm and friendly, outgoing, witty and entertaining. He was also a great lover of plants and flowers, and he beautified the Siena Campus. Even during his final years, Fr. Hugo helped to beautify the grounds of Villa Mary.
He died in St. Francis Hospital in Olean, N.Y., on July 28, 1980. Fr. Hugo was 78 years old, a professed friar for 60 years and a priest for 53 years.