Remembering Jesuit Father Francis P. Valentino

May 8, 2017 - Fr. Francis P. Valentino , SJ, was called to eternal life on May 6, 2017. Frank died at Murray-Weigel Hall, Bronx, N.Y. He was born on Feb. 16, 1935, entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on July 30, 1954, and was ordained on June 13, 1968, in the Fordham University Church. He pronounced his final vows on Feb. 19, 1983.

Francis P. Valentino, SJ, born in Brooklyn in 1935, went to Brooklyn Prep, entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew on Hudson in 1954, was ordained in 1968, and went on to receive his doctorate in psychology at the Catholic University of America in 1978. After teaching, living and working as a psychologist in a number of places, he died after a long illness at Murray Weigel Hall on May 6, 2017.

The standard course led him to Bellarmine College in Plattsbugh, N.Y., then to Shrub Oak, N.Y., for philosophy. Shrub Oak was known for its isolation and strict rules, but Frank was known for his humor, which was not at the expense of others, and his devotion to the philosophy of Jesuit Fr. Bernard Lonergan’s Insight, which he convinced some faculty to include in their syllabi. He also did a study of Maximus the Confessor who taught the union of man and God; this insight deepened his appreciation of human life and enhanced his psychological studies. It also sharpened his confidence in his own ideas and occasional willingness to bend a rule for a good reason. 

For example, a large group of scholastics would journey out on Sunday mornings to teach Sunday school in local churches. Rather than have them teach on an empty stomach, one scholastic cooked breakfast for them all, scrambling dozens of eggs, week after week. At the end of the year Frank, to thank the cook, sponsored a “secret” dinner in one of the campus cabins and somehow came up with a pile of sirloin steaks to feed them all. 

Frank taught at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City for regency. During his theology studies at Woodstock, Md., he was part of a group that visited the Maryland School for Boys every week. It was a kind of reform school, where some of the boys were quite young or there for truancy or misbehaving. According to his colleague, “Frank was never condescending about the boys, or people in general. He appreciated who the boys were, what they said, what they hoped for, where they came from. He wanted them to have better lives, but he didn’t judge them.”

Ordained in 1968, he dedicated ten years to the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., working on his doctorate. Between 1978 and 1991, he moved about, working as a psychologist, therapist, chaplain, psychology and theology teacher.

Next, he returned to St. Peter’s College to teach philosophy for three years, then interrupted his stay at St. Peter’s for a year at the Josephinum, a Pontifical College in Columbus, Ohio. It was generally in this period that his friends noticed a considerable change in his thinking; he became very conservative—a contrarian—on church and political questions., particularly “life” issues. After two more years at St. Peter’s he moved around spending one or two years in various parishes while teaching occasionally at St. Joseph’s Seminary and serving as a psychotherapist. 

He moved to Murray-Weigel in 2009, weakened by illness. A fellow Jesuit found him a very kind, thoughtful, patient man who saw the end coming and graciously awaited that union of God and man he had prayed on years before. A small shelf held only his daily office, missal and spy novels. On his wall was the framed certificate for his PhD.



Tues., May 9, 2017
3:00-5:00 & 7:00-8:30 PM (Prayer Service at 7:00 PM)
Murray-Weigel Hall Chapel
515 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY  10458


Wed., May 10, 2017
11:30 AM
Murray-Weigel Hall Chapel 
Bronx, NY  10458


Jesuit Cemetery, Auriesville, NY

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