1926 – 2011 (December 11)
Patrick J. Keane was born in San Diego, California on March 14, 1926 to Patrick Keane, a native of Ireland, and Leona Karrels. He had two sisters: Rita Wyckoff and Sister Helen Keane SCL. He professed vows in the Order on September 10, 1946, and graduated from Villanova College in 1949. He obtained a Masters Degree in mathematics from the Catholic University, Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1952.
In 1953, Father Keane was missioned as a teacher at St. Augustine High School, San Diego. In 1962 he became principal of the school and served there until he was elected prior provincial of the California province in 1975. Whenever he led, he always did so by example. While provincial he participated in marches with Cesar Chavez in support of the United Farm Workers.
In 1983, after serving two terms as provincial, he was assigned to St. Mary’s High School in Medford, Oregon. While there only a few weeks, he was called to Rome to be Assistant General of the Order. During much of this time, he was also on the formation team for the Augustinian novitiate in Racine, Wisconsin. In 1989 he became the pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Ojai, California, and from 2005 to 2009 he served that parish as pastor emeritus. In 2009 he returned to the place where he started — the St. Augustine’s community in San Diego.
Circumstances led Father Keane to spend much of his life with illness. In 1954, while still a young priest, he was on vacation in Mexico when he became paralyzed and was soon in a Texas hospital in the grip of polio. For the remainder of his life he suffered the effects of the debilitating disease. With all his pain, his difficulty in sitting, standing and walking, he never complained, and accepted his cross with grace.
Father Keane was a leader who was not known for making quick decisions. But when decisions needed to be made, he seemed always to make the right ones, and never doing so before turning it over to prayer. Outwardly, he never seemed to let too many things bother him. When he was principal of St. Augustine, he would often end a challenging day by inviting others to join him at the beach. He was a pied-piper who never chose to be one. He simply did God’s will and people followed him. He loved being an Augustinian and his students, parishioners and other friars enjoyed the warmth of his gentility, sense of humor, and his displayed interiority.
Father Keane died on December 11, 2011 at St. Augustine Monastery in San Diego after long bouts of pulmonary and post- polio complications. Following a wake on Tuesday, December 13th at Saint Augustine High School Chapel, his funeral Mass was celebrated at Saint Patrick's Church, San Diego, on Wednesday, December 14, 2011.