Father Constantine F. Burns, MM
Born: October 28, 1896
Ordained: June 15, 1924
Died: July 26, 1988
Father Constantine Burns passed away peacefully at St. Teresa’s on July 26, 1988, just short of his 92nd birthday.
Connie was born in Toledo, Ohio, on October 28, 1896 and was the second of eight children born of Edward and Emma Burns.
His early days were spent in S. Francis de Sales School run by the Ursuline Sisters. For 12 years he attended schools administered by them and their guidance and solicitude was a strong contributing force to his early desire to become a priest. He attended the city’s Cathedral High School and it was there he fully realized that his inclination was directed that way. In 1916 he entered St. Charles College and after two years transferred to St. Vincent’s Seminary, Beatty, Pa. and remained for one year but the strong desire he had to be a foreign missioner persisted. After prayer and direction he made his decision and applied to Maryknoll. He arrived at Maryknoll on September 1, 1919.
He was ordained on June 15, 1924 and assigned to China (Kongmoon) that same year. In 1931 he was made Procurator of the China Mission, based in Hong Kong. In 1935 he was recalled to the States and assigned to the Bedford Novitiate. A year later he was again assigned to Kongmoon. After his decennial in 1947 he was appointed First Consultor to the Regional Superior. In 1950, due to the disturbed political situation of the time he transferred to Kyoto in the Japanese Mission.
Father Burns was noted for his kindness, friendliness and good judgment so he was appointed in 1952 as Local Superior of the Karasaki House where Maryknollers studied the language. His hospitality was much appreciated. He enjoyed talking with everyone and soon became the best informed person on the activities of Maryknollers at all the mission stations. He was also a great help to the Society Superior.
In January, 1957 he was assigned to Sapporo, Hokkaido and appointed Regional Vicar, serving in that capacity until a furlough in the U.S. in 1963. Returning to Japan in 1963 he continued his zealous mission work in Hokkaido. His love for and devotion to the children of the kindergarten were so deep that even to this day children, now grown up and married, recall his memory with much feeling and affection.
In December, 1973 he came back to the States on sick leave. While resting at home in Toledo in July of 1975 became ill which prevented his return to Japan. At that time he was assigned to the Special Society Unit, residing at St. Teresa’s. On this occasion Connie received a much deserved tribute from the Superior General: “I take this opportunity to express the gratitude and appreciation of the Society for your many years of devoted service in the Orient, as well as for the wonderful priestly example you have given us and for the spirit of cooperation you have shown to the Director of St. Teresa’s.” (December 15, 1975)
His health continued to fail and throughout the 13 years since his entrance into St. Teresa’s his activity was greatly curtailed.
Wake service was held at St. Teresa’s and the Center Chapel on July 27th, conducted by Fr. John Fay and Fr. Gerard McCrane. Bro. Adrian Mazuchowski read the Biography. Mass of Christian Burial followed the next morning with Fr. Kenneth Thesing as Principal Celebrant and Fr. Gerard Beausoleil as Homilist. Graveside ceremony was conducted by Fr. Joseph Picardi.