Father Alexander Kilgour, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1875-1948)

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Born John Kilgour July 14, 1875 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His parents were John Kilgour and Margaret Ryan. He was one of eleven children. At fourteen he entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary at Dunkirk, New York. He was a novice in Pittsburgh and took religious vows on July 17, 1891. Alexander was his religious name.

His first priestly assignment was at St. Ann’s Parish, Normandy, Missouri. This was a brief assignment because his temperament clashed with the Rector at Normandy, Father Robert McNamara. This was a problem of jurisdiction. Thus Kilgour became a mission preacher. He gave his first mission at Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He proved to be a successful missionary to people, priests and religious for thirty years.

During World War I Kilgour served as a Knights of Columbus chaplain but ended up in conflict with the organization under the direction of “Col.” P.H. Callahan of Louisville, Kentucky who also led the Catholic Prohibition Party. Kilgour was particularly upset by the fact that, in his opinion, the K of C was too closely akin to the YMCA and the Methodist Church: forbidding card playing, dancing, etc, in the soldiers’s recreation hall. Thus, Kilgour applied and was received as a regular army chaplain.

Father Kilgour was stationed as an army chaplain at Camp Sheridan, Alabama; Gerstner Field, Louisiana; Camp Beauregard, Louisiana and Camp Hope, North Carolina. He was most effective as a priest during the 1918 flu pan-demic.

Some considered Father Kilgour to be a “Diamond in the Rough.” Some fellow religious found him inclined to be uncharitable, but others found him to be quite sensitive. He died on September 27, 1948.

For ten years his health had been failing. Gradually he became an invalid. Deafness, heart failure, poor circulation, and cancer led to his decline. In August 1948 he went to the hospital in Des Moines for a check up but never left. Father Kilgour died on September 27, 1948.