1917 – 2013 (November 5)
Francis Xavier Lawlor was born November 21, 1917 in Bronx, New York, to Martin T. Lawlor and Margaret Lawlor, and was baptized on December 25, 1917 at St. Luke Church, Bronx. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation and his elementary education at St. Rita Church, Staten Island, New York, after which he entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, which granted him a diploma in 1935. He was received into the novitiate on September 9, 1937, and professed simple vows on September 10, 1938, and solemn vows on September 10, 1941. He earned a B. A. In Philosophy from Villanova College, Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1942, and then pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D. C. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1942.
Father Lawlor taught at Saint Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, from 1946 to 1968. From 1950 to 1968 he also served as citywide Moderator of Chicago Inter-Student Catholic Action, an organization of students from the Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. During these years he was active with the Christian Family Movement, the Knights of Columbus and several block clubs in the vicinity of St. Mary of Mount Carmel Church, Chicago. He was actively involved with Citizens for Decent Literature, and was a leader in the fight against pornography.
After a brief assignment at Cascia Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Father Lawlor was on a leave of absence from the Order. He was a delegate to the 1968 Illinois State Constitutional Convention, where he was a member of the Bill of Rights Committee. He served from 1971 to 1975 as a Chicago Alderman, representing the 15th Ward in the City Council. In 1975 Father Lawlor returned to community life and was assigned to St. Mary Parish, Rockford, Illinois. He was Director of the Pro-Life Committee of the Diocese of Rockford from 1976 to 1984. In 1984 he became director of Moral Decency in Media in Rockford. He retired from that position in 1992, maintaining his community at St. Mary Parish, Rockford, and continued his involvement in pro-life and anti-pornography activities as a volunteer.
In 1994 he was assigned to Immaculate Conception/St. Henry Parish, St. Louis, Missouri, where he provided sacramental ministry as his age and health permitted. When the Archdiocese of St. Louis closed this parish in 2005, Father Lawlor moved to Tolentine Monastery, Olympia Fields, Illinois. In 2010 he was assigned to the newly formed Blessed Stephen Bellesini Friary, located at Franciscan Village, a senior housing and health care community in Lemont, Illinois.
Father Lawlor is remembered as an intense man, totally committed to any campaign to which he dedicated his time and energy in the cause of truth, justice, and life. died November 5, 2013 following a long gradual decline in health. He was 95
His Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Rita of Cascia High School Shrine Chapel, Chicago, on Saturday, November 9, 2013, with burial in the Augustinian Plot, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, IL.