1929 – 2014 (April 11)
Donald Xavier Burt was born on April 29, 1929, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Burt and Mary T. Clark, one of five brothers and two sisters. He was baptized at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Philadelphia, on May 19, 1929. He attended Our Lady of the Rosary Parish School, from 1935 to 1943, and Saint Thomas More High School for three years, from 1943 to 1946. He entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York as a postulant and completed his high school education there. He was received as a novice into Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, N.Y., on September 9, 1947, and professed first vows on September 10, 1948 and solemn vows on September 10, 1951. Following the novitiate, he attended Villanova College from 1948 to 1952, and received his BA in Philosophy. He then went to Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., for theological studies. He also obtained an MA degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop John McNamara.
Fr. Burt was assigned to teach at Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, D.C., in 1956. While in Washington, he also completed a PhD in Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. He was briefly assigned to Holy Rosary Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts, during the summer of 1960, and then until 1967, to Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass., where he taught and served as Assistant to the President. In 1967, he was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery, and taught at Villanova University. From 1968 to 1970, he was assigned to Saint Mary's Hall, the Augustinian Collegiate Seminary at Villanova, and served as the Province's Regent of Studies as well as Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University, while continuing to teach.
In 1972, Father Burt was transferred to Biscayne College, Miami, Florida as a professor. In 1974, he returned to Merrimack College to teach and to serve as Vice President of the College. In 1980, he was elected Assistant Provincial and became the Province's Director of Planning and Personnel, and was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery at Villanova. In 1988, he was appointed prior of Saint Augustine Friary, Villanova, and in 1989, he was transferred to Saint Thomas Monastery. Throughout these years Fr. Burt continued to teach at Villanova University and to write a series of books on Saint Augustine and Spirituality. He also continued post-doctoral studies, especially in the area of bio-ethics, and was the author of numerous articles and scholarly papers on the thought and spirituality of Saint Augustine.
Fr. Burt generously shared the fruit of his study and reflections with others through his writings and through the example of a life well lived. He was an inspiration to many through his wisdom, sense of humor, calm spirit and kindness.
Fr. Burt was hospitalized in Bryn Mawr Hospital and peacefully died there on Friday, April 11, 2014. His wake was held on Wednesday, April 23rd, followed by a Funeral Mass at the Church of St. Thomas of Villanova on the campus of Villanova University. The celebrant was Prior Provincial Fr. Anthony Genovese. Fr. Burt is buried at Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, Pa.