Francis Kearney, OFM
1912 – 1976
Fr. Francis William Kearney, OFM, was born Feb. 16, 1912 in Stoneboro, Pa. After high school, he enrolled at St. Bonaventure College, Allegany, N.Y. The friars inspired him to enter the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1931. He professed temporary vows in 1932, made his solemn profession in 1935 and was ordained in 1938.
After teaching for two years at St. Bonaventure, he began graduate studies in philosophy at Columbia University. He received a doctorate in philosophy from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, and proceeded to teach philosophy at schools throughout the Province. He volunteered for the Province’s mission in Japan, but was deferred because the Province felt a need for his gifts when St. Francis Friary, Rye Beach, N.H., opened as a house of philosophy of 1953. Fr. Francis was the first guardian there.
He became the 14th president of St. Bonaventure University and inaugurated a $10 million expansion program for the campus. Upon completion of his term as president in 1967, he taught philosophy at Siena College for two years and then returned to Allegany.
He died on Jan. 30, 1976 at St. Bonaventure University. Fr. Francis was 63 years old, a professed friar for 43 years and a priest for 37 years.