1877 – 1957 (April 7)
James Thomas McGettigan, son of Thomas McGettigan and Mary Hagan, was born on January 13, 1887, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was baptized there on January 21, 1887, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. As a teenager he was employed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia and continued with that company for about forty years. He was fifty-five years of age when he applied for admission into the Brotherhood of the Order of St. Augustine.
Brother James' first step toward admission as an oblate for the lay brotherhood, was his assignment to Augustinian College in Washington, D.C., where he edified the community with his humility, prayer life, and dedication to his work. He entertained many of the professed with his great interest in professional baseball. On November 3, 1931, the Definitory voted to admit him as an oblate. A year later he was transferred to Augustinian Academy on Staten Island, New York, where he completed his time of probation and was formally received in 1934.
On February 5, 1936, he began his novitiate at Augustinian Academy, professed first vows on February 6, 1937, and made solemn profession on February 6, 1940. Brother Jim served the community at Augustinian Academy for twenty-three years in the important work of building maintenance, and in particular, was the mechanic in charge of the heating plant. These years saw the conversion from oil to coal and back to oil again. During these many years, Brother Jim was an example of dedicated service not only to the friars of his community, but to the lay teachers and the students of the Academy.
Father Henry Caffrey, novice master, wrote of Jim, "Brother James is extremely thorough and painstaking in his work. He is absolutely honest and upright in his dealings with others. He is anxious to devote the remainder of his life to God as a religious of the Order of St. Augustine."
Fathers Robert Regan and Patrick Kenny, who were members of the Augustinian Academy community wrote the following commendation on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Brother James' death. "As the province negotiates the sale of the Mount Augustine property (1982) it is most fitting that the memory and deeds of those who served there so faithfully and so well be recalled. Brother Jim McGettigan was well loved and respected by all during his twenty-three years at Augustinian Academy. His dedication, talents, and warm and generous personality were an invaluable treasure to our community."
Brother Jim was 80 years old when he died at the Academy on April 7, 1957. The funeral Mass was celebrated there on April 11, and interment services took place at the St. Thomas community cemetery at Villanova, Pennsylvania.