1913 – 2004 (February 23)
Francis Raymond McDonnell was born October 11, 1913 in Centralia, Pennsylvania to Thomas McDonnell and Mary Cray. His primary education took place at St. Ignatius School, Centralia and, for three years, at St. Ignatius High School, and Conyngham Township High School, Aristes, Pennsylvania, because St. Ignatius did not offer a fourth year curriculum. He studied at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1933 and 1934, and then entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York, as a post graduate postulant. He was received into the novitiate on September 9, 1935, professed simple vows on September 10, 1936, and solemn vows on September 10, 1939. Frank studied at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, earning a B. A. in Philosophy in 1939, and did his theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C. from 1939 to 1943. He also studied at Catholic University of America, Washington, earning an M. A. in Education in 1943. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1942.
Father McDonnell's first assignment was in 1943 to St. Rita High School, Chicago, Illinois, where he was a teacher, Assistant Chaplain and Vocations Director. He was named Assistant Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Rockford, Illinois, in 1949. In 1953, he was assigned to Austin Catholic High School, Detroit, Michigan, and served as teacher, Chairperson of the Religion Department, and Director of Athletics. He returned to St. Rita High School in 1961, as teacher and Chairperson of the Religion Department.
Father McDonnell was assigned to St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, in 1971, where he was associate pastor for two years, and was named pastor in 1973. In 1979 he was named Mission Procurator and moved to Tolentine Center, Olympia Fields, Illinois, where he was responsible for raising funds to support work of the Augustinian Missions in northern Peru. In 1982 Father McDonnell returned to St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, Grosse Pointe Park, where as associate pastor. He assumed similar duties at St. Joseph Parish, Pekin, Il., in 1989. He was again assigned to St. Clare of Montefalco in 1994 and served as associate pastor there until his retirement in 1995.
He continued to live in the Augustinian Community at St. Clare until 2001, when he was assigned to Our Lady of Grace Community, Homer Glen, Il. He died at the age of 90 on February 23, 2004 at Mother Theresa Home, Lemont, Il., shortly after his release from the hospital for congestive heart failure and pneumonia.
Father McDonnell was a lover of community, approachable, with a gentle way of discussing topics with respect for those who held differing views. He was insightful, a person of common sense, a voracious reader and an avid sports fan. His Funeral Mass was celebrated February 27, 2004 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, Homer Glen, Illinois. Father McDonnell is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.