Rev. Alfred J. LaFleur, O.S.A. (1918 - 2003)
Rev. Alfred J. LaFleur, O.S.A. entered eternal life on December 15, 2003, following a short illness.
Alfred Joseph LaFleur was born on June 28, 1918 in Aurora, Illinois to Alfred J. and Theresa (May) LaFleur. He was baptized on July 7, 1918 at Holy Angels Catholic Church, Aurora. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation on October 21, 1928 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Aurora.
Alfred's primary education took place at Good Counsel School and St. Mary School, both in Aurora. He attended Fox Valley Catholic High School, Aurora, which became Marmion Academy after his sophomore year. Having graduated from Marmion in 1935, Alfred entered the Augustinian program of formation, spending a post-graduate year at Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York.
He entered the Augustinian Novitiate on September 9, 1936, professed simple vows in the Order of St. Augustine on September 10, 1937, and professed solemn vows on September 10, 1940. He was ordained a priest on May 19, 1944.
Upon profession of vows, Alfred studied at Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, earning a B.A. in Philosophy in 1941. He did his theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., from 1941 to 1945. He undertook additional studies at Catholic University of America, Washington; Tulsa University, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, Indiana; Stanford University, Stanford, California; and the Nuclear Lab, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He holds an M.S. in Physics from Villanova University.
Father LaFleur's first assignment was in 1945 to St. Rita High School, Chicago, as a teacher. He then spent six months in 1946 as Associate Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Rockford, Illinois. He taught Physics, Chemistry, Math and History at Cascia Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, from 1946 to 1959. During that time, he also served as Director of Student Activities.
When Tolentine College, Olympia Fields, Illinois, was established in 1959, Father LaFleur joined the faculty there, teaching Science and Math. He was President of Tolentine College from 1962 to 1966. He was one of the first Augustinians to suggest that Tolentine be transformed from a college exclusively for seminarians to an institution of higher learning that served lay students as well as those preparing for priestly ordination in the Augustinian Order.
Father LaFleur was assigned in 1966 to St. Anthony Parish, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as Pastor. He was Pastor of St. Augustine Parish, Detroit, Michigan, from 1982 to 1988. He was then assigned in 1988 to the Augustinian Center house community in Abbott, Texas and was named Pastor of nearby Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Hillsboro, Texas. He served in that capacity until August of 2003.
At that time, Father LaFleur moved to the Augustinian community of St. Mary Parish, Gainesville, Texas, where he was residing at the time of his death.
Father LaFleur is remembered as an excellent teacher with a wealth of knowledge. He was bright, cheerful and hard-working. His intellect worked so quickly that his voice could not always keep up, sometimes resulting in sentences that were missing a few syllables. As a pastor, Father LaFleur was involved in all aspects of the life of his parish, even into his 80's. Parishioners found him to be kind, caring and creative in his ministry to them.
He is buried in the Augustinian plot at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.