College mourns loss of Rev. James A. Driscoll, O.P. ’51, retired theology professor
Rev. James Aloysius Driscoll, O.P. ’51, a retired assistant professor of theology who taught and served at Providence College for 40 years, died on November 7 at Mount St. Rita Health Centre in Cumberland, R.I.
A member of the Order of Friars Preachers, the Dominican Community at PC, and the Order’s Eastern Province of St. Joseph, he resided at the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas on campus until shortly before his death. He was a Dominican priest for 59 years.
Father Driscoll remained an engaged and charismatic member of the College community after his retirement in 2007, taking walks on campus, attending College and alumni events and athletics contests, and visiting former colleagues and friends in campus offices. In addition to his teaching and priestly ministry, he served in many different roles during his lifetime, including as an editor/writer, designer, and advisor to PC’s former club football team.
Father Driscoll joined the College faculty to teach religious studies in 1967. He remained on the faculty as an assistant professor of theology until his retirement. He was co-director (1986-2001) and director (2001-2002) of the Graduate Program in Theology and served as chair of the undergraduate Department of Theology from 1992-2002.
Outside of the classroom, he served as a residence hall rector from 1967-1970, advisor to the PC Football Club from 1967-1971, director of the PC National Alumni Association’s Gridiron Association in the early 1970s, and associate chaplain to the College’s ROTC Patriot Battalion for 30 years.
Born Francis James Driscoll on October 17, 1924, in Columbus, Ohio, he was a son of the late Frank J. Driscoll and Gertrude (Rodenfels) Driscoll. He attended Aquinas College High School, The Ohio State University, and St. Charles College in Columbus.
After serving in the U.S. Army 29th Infantry Division and entering Normandy shortly after D-Day, he was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1946 and then entered the pre-ecclesiastical program at PC. He received an A.B. degree in philosophy from PC in 1951. He later earned his bachelor’s and licentiate degrees in sacred theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception/Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
While on leave from PC from 1971-1973, Father Driscoll studied at the University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy. He also received a doctorate in sacred theology from the university in 1984 and later served as the university’s U.S. vice president for development and alumni association director.
A Dominican for 65 years
In 1947, he entered the Dominican novitiate of St. Rose Priory in Springfield, Ky., where he received the religious name Aloysius. He made his simple profession there a year later. He was ordained a priest in the Dominican Order on June 12, 1954, at St. Dominic Church in Washington, D.C., by the Most Rev. Bryan J. McEntegart, D.D., rector of The Catholic University of America. He spent the next year as chaplain of federal prisons in the D.C. and Virginia areas.
From 1955-1956, he taught religion at Mother of Mercy Academy/Westwood while assigned to St. Andrew Rectory in Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1956-1961, while assigned to Holy Name Priory in Philadelphia, Pa., he taught philosophy and religion at La Salle College. From 1961-1966, while assigned to Holy Innocents Rectory in Pleasantville, N.Y., he served as chaplain and taught theology and philosophy at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. From 1966-1967, while assigned to Immaculate Conception Convent in Washington, D.C., he served as chaplain and director of the Aquinas Newman Student Center at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.
Within the Dominican Community, Father Driscoll served as provincial promoter of studies/provincial director of continuing education from 1977-1988 and provincial director of continuing formation from 1988-1993.
Father Driscoll wrote and edited numerous books and periodicals for the Dominican Order and the Province of St. Joseph. He was the editor of The News Digest: Dominican Fathers and Brothers - Province of St. Joseph and A Sense of Solomon: A Mission to the South Pacific in the Letters of Fr. Christopher Cardone, O.P.
He also designed the Angelicum official ring, as well as a series of booklets on the lives of Dominican saints and blesseds and the history of the Order. At PC, he designed the Quirk Institute of Industrial Relations logo, the Dominican Community Laudare Medal, and several Graduate Studies bulletins, which he also edited.
Father Driscoll was predeceased by his only sibling, his younger brother, U.S. Army Pvt. Thomas R. Driscoll, who was killed in action in 1944 during World War II.
His body will be received into the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas at PC at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12. Visitation will take place until 7:00 p.m., when the Office of the Dead will be celebrated.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the priory chapel at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 13. Burial will follow in the Dominican Friars’ Cemetery on campus.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Providence College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 1 Cunningham Square, Providence, R.I. 02918, for the Dominican Scholarship Fund.
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