1860 – 1935 (December 16)
James Francis McGowan was born in Cleveland, New York on February 17, 1860, to Michael McGowan and Mary Hyland. He entered the novitiate at Villanova, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1882, and made his simple profession of vows on February 2, 1883. After spending a year at Villanova College, he was sent to Italy in September, 1884, to complete his studies. He was solemnly professed at the Collegio Santa Monica, Rome, on February 25, 1886, and was ordained to the priesthood there on Easter Saturday, April 9, 1887.
After returning to the United States in September, 1887, Father McGowan was assigned to Saint Mary's Parish, Lawrence, Massachusetts. In October, 1889 he was transferred to Immaculate Conception Parish, Hoosick Falls, and in May, 1890, to Saint James Parish, Carthage. In August, 1891, he was appointed to Saint Mary’s Parish, Waterford, New York.
From October, 1894 to November, 1903, he was Director of the Good Counsel Magazine, and a member of the Villanova Monastery community. In 1903, he was appointed rector of Saint Augustine Parish, Andover, MA., and in January, 1907, became founding pastor of Saint Rita Parish, Philadelphia. His next assignment was at Greenwich, New York, where he served as rector for four years.
Father McGowan returned to Villanova in 1918 because of ill health. He died at Saint Joseph Hospital on December 16, 1935 at the age of 75. His funeral was celebrated at the Villanova church on December 19, 1935, after which he was buried in the community cemetery at Villanova.