Father Reginald James, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1895-1973)

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Born Loyola James on December 1895 he was called Reginald by his mother. He was born in a town north of St. Charles, Missouri. He said the name of the town was Louisiana. He spent his high school days in Mexico City, Missouri and from high school he went to business school in Gem City where he learned typing and shorthand with the skill needed be employed as a secretary to S.B. Kent who was a superintendent of the Big Four Railroad. He held that position for about four years until the Big Four was bought by the New York Central Railroad. During that time he did much traveling. When he came to Cincinnati, Ohio he would often go to the public library where he would read Jewish, Protestant and Catholic encyclopedias. This led him to reflect more on spiritual matters and he began to consider in his own Catholic belief in light of the other religions. At about 22 or 23 years of age he had a conversation with his cousin Sr. Mary Elvadene who was a Sister of St. Joseph. She urged him to think about the priesthood and this resulted in a conversation with Father Eugene Creagan, C.P. Some time later the young man began his studies towards becoming a priest at the monastery in Cincinnati. He professed his vows on August 20, 1918 and was ordained February 1, 1925. He was allowed to keep Reginald as his religious name. In 1926 or thereabouts he resided at St. Paul, Kansas and was chaplain to nuns at a hospital. About 1928 he was sent west to cure what was considered tuberculosis. That year he arrived at Glockner Hospital where he was also chaplain to the Sisters and more than likely the patients. After about four or five years he moved to St. Joseph’s Hospital, Colorado Springs to recover from a relapse of lung trouble. He rested for about a year and upon his recovery was able to care for a church at a nearby mission station in Pueblo, Colorado. He did this for two or three years. Later he did mission work in Mancos, Colorado for three or four years. In 1947 he went to Phoenix, Arizona to St. Matthew’s Church and acquired a residence at 406 North 17th Avenue. He lived like a hermit but in many respects took on the role of an associate pastor. In later years he went to Tolleson, Arizona to say at least one Sunday Mass. He assisted in the development of a new parish called Our Lady of Fatima. In those early years of the church’s growth St. Matthew’s paid him $50.00 per month and later it was increased to $75.00 per month. In 1967 he was freed to go wherever his services were needed. He would travel to Paker, Ajo, Yuma, or Globe, Arizona to be of assistance. In the Phoenix area he was chaplain to the Catholic Action League which was a ladies’ organization. In 1968 and 1969 he began to experience blackouts. Eventually Father James moved to a residence on Whitteon Avenue in Phoenix with Frank Rubino, a man who eventually himself became priest. On November 11, 1969 Father Frank Brice, C.P. joined Father James in Arizona where he remained until his death.