1911 – 1988 (August 27)
Vincent de Paul Burnell was born September 7, 1911 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to James Burnell and Anna McAteer. He had one sister. He was baptized September 24, 1911, at St. Raphael Church, Philadelphia, and received the Sacrament of Confirmation May 26, 1927 at St. Edmond Catholic Church. After graduating from St. Edmond Elementary School, he began his secondary education at Roman Catholic High School, Philadelphia. After one year, he transferred to Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, and earned his diploma there in 1930.He was received into the Augustinian Novitiate on September 11, 1930, professed simple vows on September 12, 1931, and solemn vows on September 12, 1934. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1935, and then pursued theological studies from 1935 to 1939 at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He also did graduate studies in Education and Mathematics at The Catholic University of America, Washington. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1938.
Father Burnell's first assignment was in 1939 to St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, as a teacher. When the new Augustinian Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel was establishied in 1941, he was affiliated to that Province. In 1948, he was assigned to St. Thomas High School, Rockford, Illinois, as a teacher, and in 1952 was transferred to Mendel Catholic High School, Chicago. He also served as business manager there from 1953 to 1956.
In 1957 Father Burnell was assigned to the teaching staff of St. Augustine Seminary, Holland, Michigan. He taught at Tolentine College, Olympia Fields, Illinois during the 1960-61 school year. In 1961 he returned to teach at Mendel Catholic.
Father Burnell became Assistant Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic Parish, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, in 1965. In 1978 he was transferred to Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish, St. Louis, Missouri. There he was a part of the Formation Team at the Augustinian Novitiate, while at the same time serving as Chaplain to the Augustinian Cloistered Nuns in St. Louis. In 1984, he was transferred to St. John Stone Friary, Chicago, where he participated in the formation of Augustinians who resided there during their time of theological studies.
Father Burnell was visiting his sister in San Diego, California and celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest when he died August 27, 1988. He had been noted for many years for his willingness to fix practically anything. He was an expert handyman and was eager to spend whatever time necessary to complete a project. He was an excellent example for the novices in St. Louis and the students of Theology in Chicago in his attitude toward prayer, community, and the Augustinian way of life. He is remembered for his quick smile and eagerness to be of help.He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.