1922 – 1994 (April 19)
Francis Xavier Kelly was born on December 19, 1922, to Charles B. Kelly and Nellie G McDonough. He was baptized on December 27, 1922, in St. Mary's Church in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where he attended the parish school. In 1941, he graduated from Phoenixville Public High School, and became a post graduate postulant at Augustinian Academy on Staten Island, New York. On September 9, 1943, he was received into the novitiate of Our Mother of Good Counsel, New Hamburg, N.Y., and on September 10, 1944, made his simple profession of vows. Three years later, he was solemnly professed. In 1948, he received a B.A. from Villanova College, and then studied theology at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., until 1952, the year he earned an M.A. in Speech and Drama from Catholic University in Washington. On June 5, 1951, he was ordained to the priesthood by John M. McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, Md., in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.
From the summer of 1952 to July of 1959, Father Kelly taught English at Archbishop Carroll High School, Washington, and, as Director of Dramatics, produced several plays. During those years he was also professor of homiletics at Augustinian College in Washington. In 1959, Father Kelly became director of the Augustinian Seminary Guild to support the Augustinian Formation Program. In 1965, he additionally was appointed Director of the Third Order. On November 1, 1967, he was chosen as one of three members of the Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, to establish a mission in Peru. The first parish founded was San Jose Obrero in Chulucanas. In 1968, due to illness, Father Kelly was compelled to return to the United States and was assigned as an assistant in the parish of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, Bronx, New York. From 1970 to 1986, he served in St. Genevieve Parish, Flourtown, Pa., where, in 1979, he was appointed Prior and Treasurer of the community. In September 1986, he was assigned as Prior and Treasurer to Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish, Bryn Mawr, Pa.
On March 9, 1994, after illness forced Father Kelly to retire, he moved to the Heath Care Unit at St. Thomas Monastery, Villanova. On April 19, 1994, he passed away at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Bryn Mawr, Pa. On April 22, 1944, a Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated at the Villanova Campus Church, and the next day, interment took place at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.
Over the years Father Kelly preached Retreats, Days of Recollection and Parish Renewal Programs. He was a spontaneous humorist. His ability to dissolve tension or to reduce any difficult situation to the ridiculous, was his forte. Above all, he was an esteemed counselor. At the Funeral Mass, the homilist, Father Richard Appicci, O.S.A., summarized Father Kelly's life in this way, "As an Augustinian he covered a lot of ground... as a priest, teacher, fund raiser, retreat director, pastor, counselor, missionary and just plain Kelly. Whatever he did he accomplished with his Phoenixville wisdom, humor, common sense, and the Christ-like faith he shared with everyone. These were the gifts that gained him life time friends."