Francis George
Catholic cardinal
Francis George
Francis Eugene George, OMI is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the eighth and current Archbishop of Chicago, previously serving as Bishop of Yakima (1990–1996) and Archbishop of Portland (1996–1997). A member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, George was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1998. He served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2010.
Biography
Francis George's personal information overview.
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News
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10 Things You May Not Have Known About Frederick Douglass
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Frederick Douglass is one of the most important figures in American history, but many know little about the legendary abolitionist. Long before the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Douglass stood firmly in opposition to slavery and women's suffrage of the Civil War era. The social reformer's life embodies the American dream and more importantly, the power of literacy and tenacity. His passion to read elevated Douglass from enslavement to the White House. In honor of Black History Month let's remember or newly discover the incredible life and achievements of Frederick Douglass. 1. He was a self-liberated slave. Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, Frederick was born a slave around February 14, 1919 (a chosen date, the exact birthdate is unknown) in Talbot County, Maryland. At the age of 12, Douglass insisted to learn how to read, as his mother Harriet Bailey was the only woman of color in Tuckahoe who could read. After his mother died suddenly, the slav ...
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Huffington Post article
Did Women Just Get One Step Closer To Priesthood In The Catholic Church?
Huffington Post - over 1 year
(RNS) The most controversial proposal floated so far at the high-level, high-stakes Vatican summit on church teachings on the family had nothing to do with gays or divorce, but instead ordaining women — not as priests, but as deacons. Still, even that suggestion — made by a Canadian archbishop on Tuesday (Oct. 6), near the start of the closely watched, three-week synod called by Pope Francis — was considered eye-popping.  That’s because if the trial balloon floated by Quebec Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher flies, it would represent a historic breakthrough for the Catholic Church, and Catholic women, by giving them access to the kinds of offices that only priests and bishops can hold. “The only way a woman can fully ‘obtain’ many church offices is by ordination — by becoming a cleric — and the ordinary way to enter the clerical state is by ordination to the diaconate,” said Phyllis Zagano, a leading expert on women deacons and a researcher at Hofstra University in New York. ...
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Huffington Post article
Did Women Just Get One Step Closer To Priesthood In The Catholic Church?
Huffington Post - over 1 year
(RNS) The most controversial proposal floated so far at the high-level, high-stakes Vatican summit on church teachings on the family had nothing to do with gays or divorce, but instead ordaining women — not as priests, but as deacons. Still, even that suggestion — made by a Canadian archbishop on Tuesday (Oct. 6), near the start of the closely watched, three-week synod called by Pope Francis — was considered eye-popping.  That’s because if the trial balloon floated by Quebec Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher flies, it would represent a historic breakthrough for the Catholic Church, and Catholic women, by giving them access to the kinds of offices that only priests and bishops can hold. “The only way a woman can fully ‘obtain’ many church offices is by ordination — by becoming a cleric — and the ordinary way to enter the clerical state is by ordination to the diaconate,” said Phyllis Zagano, a leading expert on women deacons and a researcher at Hofstra University in New York. ...
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Huffington Post article
Understated funeral reflects nature of Cardinal Francis George
Chicago Times - almost 2 years
It was a traditional Roman Catholic funeral Mass, plain and simple, just like the man so many came to mourn.
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Chicago Times article
5 Lessons From The Resignation Of Bishop Robert Finn
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
(RNS) When Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Missouri Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted three years ago for failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse, the pontiff sent a powerful message to the Catholic Church. Here are five takeaways from the news, which the Vatican announced on Tuesday (April 21). 1. This is a big deal During the past decade, the most intense years of the Catholic Church’s long-running clergy sex abuse scandal, thousands of priests have been punished or defrocked for abusing children, and a few bishops found guilty of molestation have also quit. But until Finn, no American bishop had ever been forced from office (despite the terse Vatican announcement that he “resigned”) for covering up for a predator priest. That sets a precedent in an institution where many have regarded the hierarchy as a privileged caste that should not be held to the same standards as others in the church. Some feared that if a bishop were pushed out for failin ...
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Huffington Post article
At Cardinal Francis George visitation, hundreds honor 'local boy done good'
Chicago Times - almost 2 years
Mourners filled the center aisle of Holy Name Cathedral on Tuesday, seeking one final moment with Cardinal Francis George. Some clasped their hands in prayer. Others bowed their heads and made the sign of the cross. One woman kissed the cardinal's cheek.
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Chicago Times article
Public begins three days of visitation at Holy Name for Chicago's Cardinal George
Fox News - almost 2 years
Mourners gathered at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral on Tuesday for the first of three days of visitation for the late Cardinal Francis George.
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Fox News article
Funeral rites for Cardinal George begin today with public visitation
Chicago Times - almost 2 years
This week's funeral rites for Cardinal Francis George get underway Tuesday in Holy Name Cathedral with rituals both common for Roman Catholics and particular to George, including a request that priests he recently ordained carry his casket into the cathedral this afternoon.
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Chicago Times article
Retired bishop recounts Cardinal George's final moments
Chicago Times - almost 2 years
On the morning he died, Cardinal Francis George watched with eyes wide open as retired Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Goedert anointed him with oil and bestowed the sacrament of the sick, commonly called last rites. Both men knew the cardinal was preparing to die.
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Chicago Times article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Francis George
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 78
    Cardinal George's third and final book, A Godly Humanism a collection of personal reflections on the faith and spirituality, which he worked on until about a week before his death (he talked about it the night before he died), was released by the Catholic University of America Press in June 2015.
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    A "Month's Mind Mass" celebrating the one-month anniversary of his death was celebrated on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 5:15 PM, with Holy Name Cathedral's Rector, Reverend Monsignor Dan Mayall, as principal celebrant and homilist.
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    On April 25, 2015, a Memorial Mass at his titular church, San Bartolomeo all'Isola, in Rome, was held, with Fr.
    More Details Hide Details Andrew Liaugminas, an archdiocesan priest ordained by the Cardinal in 2010 studying in Rome, arranged the Mass and was homilist, with Cardinal Bernard Law presiding, joined by Cardinals James Michael Harvey, George Pell, and J. Francis Stafford.
    George died of cancer on the morning of Friday, April 17, 2015 in the archdiocesan residence in Chicago at the age of 78.
    More Details Hide Details In announcing his death, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich said, One of Cardinal George's wishes had been to visit Pope Francis before he died, which he was not able to do, to his regret. While George was always careful to express his overall agreement with and obedience to Francis, he said himself that he was confused by what signals the Pope was sending. Upon hearing of his death, Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence to Archbishop Cupich: The Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, also sent a telegram of condolence. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, through its current President, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, paid tribute to him, since he had served as its President. Many Bishops and Archbishops who had served under him, including Archbishops Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio and Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, and Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, also sent their condolences, as did some who had served with him, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York City (his successor as USCCB President) and Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta (who had served under George's predecessor, Cardinal Bernardin, as an Auxiliary Bishop, and under them both as Bishop of Belleville, Illinois). Many prelates and public officials were expected to attend his funeral.
    On March 3, 2015, Cardinal George was admitted to Loyola University Medical Center for tests.
    More Details Hide Details On March 28, George was readmitted for issues relating to pain management and hydration. On April 3, he was released.
    He left the study by the end of the year after the drug was shown to be not effective in his case. On Friday, January 30, 2015, according to an Associated Press (AP) news story article in the online edition of the Chicago Tribune, Cardinal George, speaking to reporters at Chicago's Four Seasons Hotel after receiving the highest honor of the Knights of Columbus, the Gaudium et Spes Award, named after the Second Vatican Council's Gaudium et spes document, stated that since leaving the drug trial, his doctors at Loyola had "run out of tricks in the bag" in hopes of curing the cancer, and that treatment would likely now have to switch to options that emphasize quality of life, such as palliative care, rather than extending it.
    More Details Hide Details At that point, the cancer was still confined to his kidney, and had not spread to other vital organs.
  • 2014
    Age 77
    On September 20, 2014, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted Cardinal George's resignation and named Bishop Blase J. Cupich as his successor.
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    Later in September 2014, George met with a gay music director of a Catholic parish who had been fired after announcing his intention to marry his partner.
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    In September 2014, in his column in the archdiocesan newspaper, he wrote that American government and society were now approving sexual relationships so at odds with Roman Catholic belief that "the church's teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes" and that "those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger."
    More Details Hide Details He also cited the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. He wrote that "It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law."
    On September 20, 2014, Pope Francis accepted George's resignation and appointed Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Spokane, Washington, to succeed him as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
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    In August 2014, Cardinal George agreed to participate in a research clinical trial of a new drug at the University of Chicago.
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    In April 2014, on medical advice, he canceled a trip to the Vatican.
    More Details Hide Details He and the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, agreed that the process for selecting his successor should begin.
    He was hospitalized for a few days at Loyola University Medical Center in March 2014 after showing flu-like symptoms and signs of dehydration.
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    The cancer returned in March 2014, and plans for aggressive chemotherapy treatments renewed speculation about his retirement.
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    On December 10, 2014, George was given the rarely-awarded Medal of Merit, the highest honor of the City of Chicago.
    More Details Hide Details George was diagnosed with an aggressive but localized form of bladder cancer in 2006. In August 2012 the Archdiocese announced that his bladder cancer had returned in his kidney and liver, and that he would undergo chemotherapy.
    He received an honorary doctorate from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois on May 18, 2014, and performed the annual diaconal and presbyteral ordinations that same month.
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    In a 2014 interview on his retirement, Cardinal George said:
    More Details Hide Details In the same interview, when asked if he saw himself as conservative, George replied:
  • 2013
    Age 76
    On January 1, 2013, in a pastoral letter to the Archdiocese, George stated that the passage of a same-sex marriage legislation in Illinois, which appeared imminent, would be "acting against the common good of society.
    More Details Hide Details This proposed legislation will have long-term consequences because laws teach; they tell us what is socially acceptable and what is not, and most people conform to the dictates of their respective society, at least in the short run".
  • 2012
    Age 75
    In 2012, he became President and Rector of the University and Seminary.
    More Details Hide Details Cardinal George regarded him as a protégé and thought he was one of the Church's best evangelizers (many have compared Barron to the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, a famous church televangelist, active in the 1950s through the 1970s). Father Barron is the founder and head of Word on Fire Ministries; in July 2015, Pope Francis named him one of three new Auxiliary Bishops-elect of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in Los Angeles, California, to serve under Archbishop Jose Gomez. After his death there were some people in Chicago and outside of the archdiocese that suggested that there be an investigation into his life and works which could begin a petition for a cause for canonization. Cardinal George was noted during his life by those who worked with and knew him for humility; even though he had a very forthright and unapologetic manner of dealing with issues that concerned him, he did not pay undue attention to his own successes or roles, and did not promote or advertise himself. This prominently observed humility is probably his most saintly characteristic.
    On January 16, 2012, George turned 75 and formally submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict XVI.
    More Details Hide Details George noted he is a rarity among Chicago's bishops for having lived to see the possibility of retirement. He named the Very Reverend Father Peter F. Śnieg, Rector of St. Joseph's Seminary at Loyola University Chicago, the Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese. At that time George anticipated remaining in office for about another two or three years.
    When a new route was proposed for the 2012 annual Chicago Pride Parade that would take it past a Catholic church, George told an interviewer: "you don't want the Gay Liberation Movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism."
    More Details Hide Details In response, LGBT advocates in Chicago called for George's resignation, but George said: "When the pastor's request for reconsideration of the plans was ignored, the organizers invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church." Two weeks later, George apologized: "This has evidently wounded a good number of people. I have family members myself who are gay and lesbian, so it's part of our lives. So I'm sorry for the hurt." He said he was "speaking out of fear that I have for the church's liberty and I was reaching for an analogy which was very inappropriate. Sometimes fear is a bad motivation." LGBT rights advocates accepted his apology.
  • 2010
    Age 73
    Later in 2010, he further outlined the degree to which he believed religious freedoms in the United States and other Western societies were endangered.
    More Details Hide Details In a speech to a group of priests, he said, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." The quote was originally published online without the second sentence. In a 2014 interview, he said:
    In 2010, he spoke at Brigham Young University about the continued need for Catholics and Mormons to stand together to protect religious freedom. "In recent years, Catholics and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have stood more frequently side by side in the public square to defend human life and dignity," George said.
    More Details Hide Details He also praised the LDS Church for its efforts alongside the Catholic Church to combat poverty and pornography and the need to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
    In the fall of 2010, he finished his three-year presidency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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  • 2009
    Age 72
    In 2009, he condemned negationist declarations made by bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X.
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    In March 2009, George met with newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama.
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  • 2007
    Age 70
    In 2007, he asked Jews to reconsider descriptions of Jesus in the Talmud as a "bastard" in exchange for a softening of traditional Catholic prayers calling for Jews to be converted to Christianity.
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    He served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2010.
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  • 2006
    Age 69
    He was initially diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and died from the disease in 2015.
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  • 2005
    Age 68
    George was one of the 2005 cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave which selected Pope Benedict XVI, and one of the 2013 cardinal electors in the papal conclave of 2013 that selected Pope Francis.
    More Details Hide Details George published a locally well-read column bi-monthly in the Chicago archdiocesan newspaper of which he, while archbishop, was publisher, The Catholic New World, called "The Cardinal's Column". He was also the Publisher of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Hispanic newspaper, Chicago Católico. He has published at least two pastoral letters. The first, "Becoming An Evangelizing People", was released on November 21, 1997. The second was a major discourse on the sinful and destructive nature of racism, Dwell in My Love, released on April 4, 2001. The Cardinal was the author of three books. The first, The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture, was published in October 2009 by Crossroad Publishing Company. It is a collection of essays exploring our relationship with God, the responsibility of communion and the transformation of culture. The second, God in Action: How Faith in God Can Address the Challenges of the World, was published in May 2011 by Doubleday Religion. In this collection of essays, he reflects on the significance of religious faith in the public sphere and underscores the unique contributions of religion to the common good.
  • 2001
    Age 64
    He was a delegate of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the 2001 World Synod of Bishops, and was also elected to the Council for the World Synod of Bishops in 2001.
    More Details Hide Details He served as a delegate of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the 2008 World Synod of Bishops on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. He served as Vice President (2004–2007) and President (2007–2010) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He served as a member, and later as a consultant, to the Committee on Divine Worship; he was also a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and Pro-Life Activities and the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry. He had also served on Conference of Bishops Committees on Doctrine, on Latin America, on Missions, on Religious Life, the American Board of Catholic Missions, and on World Missions; on the Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism and the Subcommittee on Campus Ministry. He was Chair of the Committee for Bishops and Scholars from 1992–1994, and of the Committee on Liturgy from 2001–2004, and a consultant to the Committees on Evangelization (1991–1993), Hispanic Affairs (1994–1997), Science and Values (1994–1997), and African American Catholics (1999–2002). He was the Representative to the International Commission on English and the Liturgy from 1997–2006.
  • 1998
    Age 61
    On January 18, 1998, Pope John Paul II announced Archbishop George's elevation to the Sacred College of Cardinals with the title of Cardinal-Priest of San Bartolomeo all'Isola, which occurred at the consistory at the Vatican on February 21.
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  • 1997
    Age 60
    Less than a year later, on April 8, 1997, Pope John Paul II appointed Archbishop George the eighth Archbishop of Chicago to fill a vacancy left by the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin on November 14, 1996.
    More Details Hide Details He was the first native Chicagoan to assume the office. On May 7 after his appointment, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Agostino Cacciavillan installed Archbishop George as Archbishop of Chicago in Holy Name Cathedral.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1996
    Age 59
    On April 30, 1996, George was appointed the ninth Archbishop of Portland in Oregon.
    More Details Hide Details He was installed on the following May 27 at St. Mary's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. During his brief tenure, he led the Archdiocese's response to a tape recording by the Lane County jail of an inmate's sacramental confession; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals later ruled that the tape recording was an unconstitutional and illegal act.
  • 1994
    Age 57
    He was a papal appointee to the 1994 World Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life, and attended the Ninth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican City in October 1994.
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  • 1990
    Age 53
    From 1990 to 2008, he was Episcopal Moderator and member of the board of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities (now known as the National Catholic Partnership on Disability).
    More Details Hide Details He brought personal experience to his role after a five-month bout with poliomyelitis at age 13 left him with permanent damage to his legs. Cardinal George had been Conventual Chaplain ad honorem of the Federal Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Grand Prior of the North Central Lieutenancy of the United States for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a member of the Kohl McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Awards Advisory Board. He had been a member of the Board of Directors of Oblate Media, Belleville, Illinois, since 1988. He had been a member of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the American Society of Missiologists, and the Catholic Commission on Intellectual and Cultural Affairs. In July 2011, Cardinal George was chosen one of eight U.S. bishops to serve as catechists at the August 2011 World Youth Day celebration in Madrid, Spain.
    He was episcopal advisor to the Cursillo Movement (Region XII) from 1990 to 1997, and episcopal moderator of the National Catholic Office for Persons with Disabilities from 1990 to 2008.
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    On July 10, 1990, George was appointed the fifth Bishop of Yakima in Washington by Pope John Paul II.
    More Details Hide Details He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 21 from Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, with Bishops Roger Schwietz, O.M.I., and William S. Skylstad serving as co-consecrators, at Holy Family Church in Yakima. He took as his episcopal motto: Christo Gloria in Ecclesia (Latin: "To Christ be Glory in the Church"). George served the Diocese of Yakima for five and a half years. As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), he served as chair of the Commission for Bishops and Scholars (1992–1994), and as a consultant to the Committees on Evangelization (1991–93), Hispanic Affairs (1994–97), and Science and Values (1994–97).
  • 1988
    Age 51
    He obtained a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in 1988, with a thesis entitled: "Inculturation and communion".
    More Details Hide Details George returned to the United States, where he served as coordinator of the Circle of Fellows at the Center for the Study of Faith and Culture in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1987–90).
  • THIRTIES
  • 1973
    Age 36
    He served as provincial superior of the Midwestern Province for the Missionary Oblates in Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1973 until 1974, when he became vicar general of his religious order.
    More Details Hide Details Based in Rome, he served as vicar general for 12 years.
  • 1970
    Age 33
    During his teaching assignments, George earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in American Philosophy from Tulane University in 1970, and a Master of Theology degree from the University of Ottawa in 1971.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1964
    Age 27
    He received a Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) degree from the University of Ottawa in 1964, followed by a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1965.
    More Details Hide Details He then taught philosophy at Our Lady of the Snows Seminary in Pass Christian (1964–69), Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana (1968), and Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska (1969–1973).
  • 1963
    Age 26
    On December 21, 1963, George was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Raymond Hillinger at his home parish of St. Pascal Church.
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  • 1961
    Age 24
    George was then sent to study theology at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He made his solemn vows as a member of the Missionary Oblates on September 8, 1961.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1957
    Age 20
    He joined the Missionary Oblates on August 14, 1957.
    More Details Hide Details He continued his studies at the Oblates novitiate in Godfrey before entering Our Lady of the Snows Seminary in Pass Christian, Mississippi.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1937
    Age 0
    Francis George was born on January 16, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois, to Francis J. and Julia R. (née McCarthy) George.
    More Details Hide Details He has an older sister, Margaret. He received his early education at the parochial school of St. Pascal Church in Chicago's Northwest Side. George contracted polio at age 13. Due to his disability, he was rejected by Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary, and instead enrolled at St. Henry Preparatory Seminary in Belleville, a high school seminary of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
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