Spencer, Father James

1959, November 4

Date of Birth: 1900, September 14

James P. Spencer was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 14, 1900. He was a pupil at the parish school of the Providence Cathedral from 1906 to 1913. He graduated from LaSalle Academy in Providence in 1917, and then spent two years at St. Charles College in Catonsville, Maryland. In 1919 he entered St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore for his Philosophy. He earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree there. He proceeded to the Sulpician Seminary (not Theological College) at the Catholic University of American in Washington, D.C. for his Theology. There he received an S.T.B. degree and another M.A. He was ordained for the Diocese of Providence in June 1925, by Bishop Shahan, Rector of The Catholic University of America. Father Spencer, as a candidate for St. Sulpice, was sent to St. Joseph’s College in Mountain View, California, where he taught for the next two years.

In 1927 he entered the Solitude in Catonsville. During Solitude he did some teaching at St. Charles College. In 1928, after Solitude, he returned to the Catholic University of America for three years to study Psychology.

Father Spencer then taught Psychology, Education, and Chant at the Paca Street seminary from 1931 to 1945. He also acted as chaplain. In the military he served in Europe and the Far East until failing health necessitated his return to the United States for a serious operation.

After serving at Fort Meade in Maryland, he went overseas again during the Korean War. In the course of his service in Korea he was awarded the Silver Star for bravery. His health again failing, he retired from the Army and returned to St. Mary’s Seminary, Paca Street, in 1956. Father Spencer died on November 4, 1959.

Adapted from The Voice and from data assembled by Father John Bowen.