1878 – 1925 (October 17)
Martin Francis Kessels was born in Eindhoven, Holland, on December 4, 1878, the son of Johannes Kessels and Anna van Piere. He entered the novitiate of the Province of the Netherlands, and was professed on September 21, 1899. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 15, 1904.
Father Kessels came to the United States in December, 1913, and served first at Saint Mary's Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts. While pastor at Assumption Church in Lawrence from 1914 to 1917, he completed the interior of the church, and enhanced the parish office space. In 1920 he was transferred to Chicago, Illinois, and then to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine in the Bronx, New York. Here he instructed Metropolitan Archbishop Rudolph de Berghes, of the "Old Catholic" sect, who was reconciled to the Church, and who later died at Villanova, PA as a cleric novice in our Order.
Father Kessels was 47 when he died during an operation at a hospital in Detroit, Michigan, on October 17, 1925. At the time he was assigned to Saint Augustine's in Detroit and was a professor in the diocesan seminary. Father Kessels’ body was returned to Villanova, where he was buried in the Community Cemetery.