Canons Regular of St. John Cantius


After a long illness, Father Burns Seeley, SJC, fortified by the reception of Holy Communion, journeyed into eternity on October 3, 2007, at about 5:30 p.m. Members of the community and his family were with him in those final days. After their visit, our men returned to Chicago, and on the way home they received the news that Father died.

Father Seeley was our first priest ordained and now the first member of our new community to die. During the days following his death, I made numerous calls to various clergy and friends. Cardinal George, OMI, celebrated the funeral Mass. I preached the homily. The St. Cecilia Choir sang Faure’s Requiem Mass and our men served at the altar. Parishioners, friends, and family filled our church, all expressing their sorrow to me, Father’s family, and members of the community. The Mass fittingly paid tribute to this priest of God and it greatly consoled everyone present.

Burial at St. Peter’s Cemetery, Volo, Illinois.

Father Seeley came to St. John Cantius by the hand of God. During his priestly ministry at St. John Cantius, he comforted many souls through the Sacraments. As great confessor, a learned scholar and a gentle soul, the Canons Regular were spiritually enriched by Fr. Seeley’s priestly example.

Funeral Mass celebrated by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago

During his last two years, Father Seeley joyfully embraced his cross and joined himself to Christ’s Passion. Father Burns never gave in to self-pity or discouragement, but continued to look forward to the day when he could return to St. John’s full-time. He made his last visit to St. John’s during our parish picnic in mid-August. He visited with parishioners and friends, but the visit took its toll on him, and he went back to St. Louis quite exhausted. While Father was in St. Louis at the Little Sisters of the Poor, our men would take turns visiting him regularly. The Little Sisters of the Poor were most gracious caretakers for Father. His family also visited him daily, and when we came, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary offered us lodging and treated us with great hospitality. So our young community experienced its first death, but also a resurrection.

Requiescant in pace. Amen..