Father Urban O’Rourke, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1899-1992)

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Born Michael Joseph O’Rourke on March 30, 1899 on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, he was the son of Patrick O’Rourke and Bridget Morris. He attended St. Cecilia School which had opened in 1901 and he was taught by the Sisters of Mercy. He entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary on September 1, 1914 at Holy Cross Monastery, Mount Adams, Cincinnati, Ohio. He professed his vows on July 2, 1916 at Sacred Heart Retreat, Louisville, Kentucky. He studied for priesthood at the Passionist monastery in Chicago where he lived with the Passionist students who were exiled, due political persecution, from Mexico. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War they were martyred and eventually beatified in 1988. Father O’Rourke especially remembered students Nicephorus Diez and Peter Bengoa. He then continued his studies at St. Paul, Kansas, Normandy, Missouri, and Cincinnati. He was ordained at Des Moines, Iowa on December 22, 1923 by Bishop Thomas W. Drumm. This was the first class of students to be ordained in Des Moines as well as the first class of students to be allowed to celebrate their first Mass in their home parishes. Shortly after he was ordained Father O’Rourke’s voice failed him. This was a difficult affliction because he was known to be a good preacher. He was assistant pastor at St. Anne’s Parish, Normandy. He was a hospital chaplain and a tremendous correspondent. His final assignment was to Mercy Hospital, Redding, California in 1971. He left there in 1977 and retired to Sierra Madre, California. He arrived at Daneo Hall, Chicago in the winter of 1989. At his death he was the oldest Passionist and the longest professed in the United States.