1930 – 2016 (March 9)
George Patrick Lawless was born on September 26, 1930, in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George P. Lawless and Margaret J. McGinley, and one of five brothers and three sisters. He was baptized on October 5, 1930, at Our Mother of Consolation Church, Chestnut Hill, and attended the parish school from 1935 to 1943, and Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a postulant, from 1943 to 1947. He was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1947, and professed simple vows on September 10, 1948. He then attended Villanova College, and received a BA in Philosophy in 1952, having professed solemn vows on September 10, 1951. He went to Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., for his theological studies, during the period 1952 to 1956, and, at the same time, studied at the Catholic University of America, where he received an MA in Latin and Greek. He was ordained to the priesthood on February 4, 1956, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara.
Father Lawless was assigned to teach at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, during the 1956-1957 academic year. He was transferred in 1957 to Saint Mary's Hall, Villanova, and in 1958, became a member of the Saint Thomas Monastery community there. He taught at Villanova University and also studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received an MA in Classical Studies in 1963. In 1968 he was appointed to Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery and Merrimack College, where he taught in the Religious Studies Department from 1968 until 1975. During this time he attended Princeton Theological Seminary and received a ThM in Ecumenics and Ethics. In 1975 he was named prior of Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. He was assigned briefly, in 1979, to Saint John of Sahagun Friary, Washington, and, in 1980 to the Collegio Santa Monica, Rome, where he taught at the Augustinianum, the Order's Patristic Institute, from 1980 to 2011. He received his doctorate from the Angelicum, Rome, in 1985. He also taught at the Angelicum as adjunct professor, and at the Gregorian University until 2005. In 2009, Father George received a Doctorate in Augustinian Studies, honoris causa, from Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts. In January 2012, due to declining health, he returned to his home Province and was assigned to St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, PA.
Father George was the author of many articles and books, and gave many retreats, conferences and workshops on Saint Augustine, his Rule, and his writings. Always an articulate speaker, he was known for his skill for turning a phrase with flair and elegance, and bringing humor, through his speech, into even the most scholarly discussions and conversations.
After an extended decline in health, Father George Lawless passed over to the Lord on Wednesday afternoon, March 9, 2016, in his room at Saint Thomas of Villanova Monastery, Villanova, Pa., in his eighty-fifth year and the sixty-eighth of his religious profession. A wake preceded his funeral Mass on Monday, March 14, 2016 at the Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova. A Mass of Christian Burial followed. Father George is buried at the Augustinian Plot, Calvary Cemetery, Conshohocken, Pa.