Monday, September 19, 2016


SERVANT of GOD GEORGE J. WILLMANN, S.J. was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1897. His parents were William Godfrey Willmann and Julia Corcoran Willmann. George had two brothers, Edward and William Jr. and four sisters, Miriam, Dorothy, Ruth and Agnes. His sisters Ruth and Agnes became members of Franciscan Missionary of Mary.
From 1902 to 1908, George studied at the Our Lady of Good Counsel Grammar School in Brooklyn, and from 1908 to 1913 and at the Boys High and Brooklyn Preparatory High School. On August 15, 1915, He entered the into Society of Jesus Seminary at Poughkeepsie, New York.
He was then sent to the Philippines in 1922 as a seminarian for a teaching stint at the Ateneo de Manila, later returning to the United States in 1925 to continue his theological studies.
In June 20, 1928, he was ordained at the Woodstock College in Maryland by Archbishop Michael Joseph Curley. Father George served as Director of New York Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau from 1930 to 1936. Then he  returned to the Philippines to continue teaching at the Ateneo de Manila. The next year he became dean of Ateneo de Manila.
In 1938, Father Willmann established the Catholic Youth Organization in the Philippines, a religious and recreational organization for the youth. He became the chaplain of the organization on its establishment until 1977. He  was also initiated into Order of Knights of Columbus June 30 of the same year. He was appointed Chaplain of Manila Council 1000 based in Intramuros, Manila.
In 1941 Servicemen clubs were established under the guidance of the Army-Navy Morale Committee, of which Father Willmann and the auxiliary bishop of Manila, Msgr. Rufino Santos, were members. In 1942, he taught Social Sciences at the Manila San Jose Seminary.

Father Willmann became a prisoner of war during the Japanese occupation of Manila where he was arrested at the University of Santo Tomas by the Japanese on July 1944. He and the other prisoners where later put into a concentration camp in Los Banos, Laguna and were later freed by American forces in 1945.
On July 1, 1975, Father George was granted Filipino citizenship by then President Ferdinand Marcos  for his "virtuous acts, compassionate and kind and loving service for the Filipino people.”
On June 29, 1977, Pope Paul VI awarded him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal.
Father Willmann later went to New York presumely to pay a visit to his sisters, Ruth, and Agnes, nuns living in Roslyn. He was prone to falls because of weaking limbs and had a fall while he was in New York, resulting in hip surgery. After his stay in the hospital, he was transferred to the Murray-Weigel Hall, an infirmary owned by the Jesuits in New York state.
Father Willmann died on September 14, 1977, due to cardiac arrest. His remains were interred at the Jesuit Cemetery in Novaliches, Quezon City, Philippines.
"He spent all 40 years of his priesthood here in the Philippines," said Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, one of the postulators for Father Willman's beatification. He described the late priest as "a friend of the poor" and a "missionary to the youth." adding that "it is only right that he be recognized as a Filipino saint, if and when the time comes."

Father Willman is now one of eight Filipinos currently undergoing the process for beatification and canonization

No comments:

Post a Comment