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Francis Gilfillan was born in Aughavas, County Leitrim, and received his classical education at St. Mary's Seminary in Moyne, County Longford, from 1886 to 1889. From 1889 to 1894, he studied philosophy and theology at St. Patrick's College in Carlow. He was then sent to continue his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., gaining a Doctorate of Divinity.
Gilfillan was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop John J. Kain on June 24, 1895. He served as a curate at the Cathedral of St. Louis from 1896 until 1907, when he became pastor of the cathedral. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Kenrick Seminary and of the Theological Conferences' Committee of the Board of Synodal Examiners.
On July 8, 1922, Gilfillan was appointed coadjutor bishop of Diocese of St. Joseph and titular bishop of Pegae by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 8 from Archbishop John J. Glennon, with Bishops Christopher E. Byrne and Thomas F. Lillis serving as co-consecrators. Upon the death of Bishop Maurice F. Burke, Gilfillan succeeded him as the third Bishop of St. Joseph on March 17, 1923. He remained in this office until his death nearly ten years later, at age 60.
Two of his sisters were nuns in the Convent of Mercy, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim.
- Marquis, Albert Nelson (1912). The Book of St. Louisans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of St. Louis and Vicinity (II ed.). Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company.
- "Bishop Francis Gilfillan". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.[self-published source]
- Breifny Antiquarian Society and Historical Journal
|Catholic Church titles|
Maurice Francis Burke
|Bishop of St. Joseph
Charles Hubert Le Blond