THAT JESUIT priest riding a motor scooter around the rural villages of India - why was he carrying a Louisville Slugger?

It was true, the Rev. Francis H. McGauley was a Boston Red Sox fan, but that wasn't the reason. He used it to ward off the bears he often encountered.

Despite such inconveniences, Father McGauley was devoted to India and the Indian people, whose educational, physical and spiritual needs he served for 31 years.

He also led retreats at several retreat houses around the country, and in the '90s served as director of the infirmary and as provincial assistant for health care at the Loyola Center at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, now known as Manresa Hall.

He died July 15 at the Manresa Hall Jesuit Community in Merion, where he had lived since his health began to fail earlier this year. He was 86.

Father McGauley had a great sense of humor and, unlike many people, never forgot a joke.

"He was the guest everyone wanted at their dinner table," said the Rev. William Watters, former pastor of St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore, where McGauley was former director of the St. Francis Xavier House of Prayer. "He was a great storyteller.

"He was always concerned about the poor, and had a real apostolic heart and a tremendous spirituality," Watters said. "He wanted to make the lives of the people in India better. He remained devoted to them for the rest of his life."

McGauley was born in Boston, where he developed his passion for the Red Sox. He graduated from Framingham High School and studied at Georgetown University for three years. He then entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues, in Wernersville, Berks County, Pa.

He first went to India in 1951 as a Jesuit scholastic. After studying Hindi, he taught mathematics, physics and catechism at the Loyola School in Jamshedpur.

He was ordained a Jesuit priest at De Nobili College in India on March 24, 1955.

He served as teacher, pastor and director of retreats in addition to his other duties. He continued ministering in India until 1980.

S. Ramanathan, who was one of his students in Jamshedpur and who later became general manger of the Indian Railways, wrote to McGauley on the occasion of the priest's 80th birthday:

"Whatever I am, whatever I have achieved in life is mainly due to you and the other Jesuits of Loyola School."

After his return from India, McGauley became retreat director at Gonzaga College High School, in Washington, D.C., from 1980 to 1981, as well as assistant to the pastor of St. Aloysius Church. He served as director of spiritual exercises at Manresa-on-Severn, in Annapolis, from 1981 to 1986, and as superior and director of Loyola Retreat House, in Faulkner, Md., from 1986 to 1992.

That year, he moved to Merion, where he served the Loyola Center until 1999.

After a sabbatical year, he served for five years as director of St. Francis Xavier House of Prayer at St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore.

In 2005, McGauley resided at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Church in Woodstock, Md., working as a pastoral minister until earlier this year, when declining health led him to move to Manresa Hall.

Two years ago, members of the Catholic Men's Fellowship at St. Francis Xavier Parish, in Hunt Valley, Md., had a special Louisville Slugger engraved for him.

"His humility was not just putting himself second, but lifting up and edifying the people he was with," said Rob Bart, a founding member of the fellowship.

McGauley is survived by a brother, David O. McGauley, and a sister, Carolyn Ann McGauley Coady.

Services: Were Friday in Baltimore. He was buried in the Jesuit Cemetery in Wernersville.

Donations may be made to the St. Francis Xavier House of Prayer at St. Ignatius Church, 805 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21202. *