1912 – 1980 (June 19)
Louis Anthony Rongione, son of Joseph Rongione and Christina Celino, was born on August 23, 1912, in Aquafondata, Italy, where he was baptized on August 28, 1912, in the Church of St. John the Baptist. The Rongione family moved to the United States, and took up residence in Philadelphia, where Louis received his early education at St. Rita Parish School. On September 15, 1927, he became a first year postulant at Augustinian Academy on Staten Island, New York. While at the Academy he was elected class Secretary, Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook and President of the Oratorical Society. On September 12, 1931, he was received into the novitiate at New Hamburg, New York, professed first vows on September 13, 1932, and solemn vows on September 13, 1935. In June 1936, he received his B.A. degree from Villanova College, Villanova, Pa. From 1936 to 1940, he pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., and in June 1940, he received an M.A. in Education, from Catholic University. On May 30, 1939, Louis was ordained to the priesthood by John M. McNamara, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, Md., in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.
Father Rongione received his first assignment to St. Rita High School, Chicago, Ill., on September 6, 1940, where he taught senior English, French and Religion and served as Librarian. In the summer of 1941, he returned to Augustinian Academy on Staten Island, N. Y. where, for the next nine years, he taught the same subjects with the addition of Greek. In 1950, Father was appointed Dean of the Evening Division at Villanova and continued his teaching career, specializing in Moral Theology, including Medical Ethics, and Philosophy. He was moderator of the Villanovan, the Radio Station, the Yearbook, and the InterNos. In October 1952, he was appointed librarian at St. Monica, Rome. In 1953, he returned to Villanova as professor, and in 1956, upon the death of Father Daniel Falvey, he was appointed Chairman of the Library Science Department. He served on the advisory boards at Cabrini College and St. Joseph School of Nursing, Reading, Pa. In addition to being a councilor of the Province, he was appointed prior, first at St. Mary's Hall, then at St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery, where he was respected for his spiritual concerns and gentle attitude toward the members of the community.
As scholar and author, Father Rongione penned books of homilies, conferences on the Beatitudes, the treatise, The Liberty Bell's Sister, and many articles on library science and religious education. For the last 6 years of his life, he prepared weekly homilies for The Philadelphia Catholic Standard and Times. His writings, and the homilies he delivered at Sacred Heart Church in Manoa, for over 20 years, reflect his familiarity with and love for St. Augustine.
Father John M. Driscoll, O.S.A., former President of Villanova, reflected, "Father Rongione brought a warm and human touch to many scholarly and professional activities. He always looked for the best in people and situations. He was admired, respected and loved by all who knew him."
Father Rongione died on June 19, 1980, after a long illness which, at a certain point, required the amputation of his arm. He bor that loss with customary good humor and patience. A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated in St. Thomas Church on the Villanova campus, and interment followed in Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.