The Rev. John E. Bresnahan, 102, a longtime cleric known to many of his students as "Father B," died Monday, Dec. 9, of heart failure at St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery in Villanova.
At the time of his death, he was the oldest member of the Order of St. Augustine in North America, according to the order's records. He lived in the St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery community.
Born in Lawrence, Mass., he attended Lawrence High School and graduated from Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y., where he entered as a postulant in 1927.
He professed his first vows in 1929 before earning a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1933 from what is now Villanova University. In 1932, he professed his solemn vows.
"Father B" went to Augustinian College in Washington for his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood June 9, 1936, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
He received a master's degree in the classics from Catholic University of America in 1937 and a doctorate in Latin from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949.
He took various assignments teaching college-level theology before becoming librarian at Augustinian College, a post he held from 1968 until 1995.
As librarian, he shared his knowledge and insight with theological students as they gathered information for class projects and papers.
In 1995, at 84, he returned to St. Thomas of Villanova Monastery. He was known for being quiet and gentle.
"He epitomized the example of a true follower of St. Augustine in the sharing of what he learned with others and his life in community," the religious order said in a statement.
He is survived by nieces.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, in the Church of St. Thomas of Villanova on the Villanova campus, 800 E. Lancaster Ave. A viewing will begin at 6:30 p.m. Interment will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 13, in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, Conshohocken.