Rev. Francis X. Hazen, CSV, who spent 36 years of his priestly life as pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Beaverville, IL, died Oct. 16, 1960 after a long illness. He was 78.
Fr. Hazen was born Jun. 15, 1882 in Oconto, WI into a family of 10 children.
After his early education in his native city of Oconto, Francis Hazen joined the Clerics of St. Viator in Bourbonnais. The years between 1901 and 1910 were spent at St. Viator College and Seminary as student, teacher and prefect of discipline.
He pronounced his first vows on Jul. 4, 1901, his perpetual profession on Dec. 18, 1910 and was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 27, 1910 at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
Fr. Hazen’s first assignment as a young priest was at Columbus College in Chamberlain, SD where he again served as the prefect of discipline, as well as treasurer of the college from 1910-1913.
His next assignment was preaching missions and holding retreats with the Viatorian Mission Band. Fr. Hazen held this role until 1917, while living in the Viatorian residence at Belmont and Crawford avenues in Chicago.
Fr. Hazen served for one more year as prefect of discipline at St. Viator College, until 1918, when he was named assistant pastor of St. Edward’s Church in Chicago. He remained there until 1920 when he was appointed pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Beaverville.
It was at St. Mary’s Church that he would spend the next 36 years. As a French speaking priest, he performed a vital role for this community of transplanted French Canadians.
When Fr. Hazen came to Beaverville, the village still was lighted by kerosene lamps. With his energetic confidence, the villagers pledged enough money for the electric company to complete the electrical installations for the whole village.
Fr. Hazen faced a huge debt for the large, beautiful church built in 1910 under the pastorate of Fr. Moses J. Marsile, CSV. To pay off this debt, Fr. Hazen organized and staged seven huge successful homecomings, where the parishioners served dinners to thousands of people.
Through his wise management and ability to lead, not only did he pay off the debt, he also completely redecorated the church, installing Italian marble altars and statues, new pews and a modern heating system.
A genuine sadness overcame the community when Fr. Hazen retired in 1956 because of his failing health. He was loved and respected by his parishioners and non-Catholics alike in the village of Beaverville.
Funeral services were held Oct. 19 in St. Mary’s Church. Since the Viatorian provincial, the Rev. John W. Stafford , CSV, was in the Orient making a canonical visit to the missions, Bishop Martin D. McNamara of the Joliet Diocese offered the Mass. The Rev. William J. Cracknell, CSV, preached the sermon.
Fr. Hazen was laid to rest in the parish cemetery in Beaverville.
Taken from biography written by the Rev. William J. Cracknell, CSV