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Fr. Francis Morrisey, OMI, is Remembered and Honoured by Saint Paul University

Ottawa (Ontario), Monday, May 25, 2020 — It is with sadness that Saint Paul University informs staff, students and alumni of the death of Fr. Francis Morrisey, OMI. He died on Saturday, May 23 at the age of 84 in Ottawa.

Fr. Morrisey, who served as Saint Paul University’s Dean of Canon Law from 1972 to 1981, offered important insights into the development of the department.

“I am grateful to have known him,” said Chantal Beauvais, rector of Saint Paul University. “I always appreciated his good judgment and advice regarding existing structures. He never absolutized them, but always sought to adapt them according to the good we wanted to achieve. Although we have lost a dear friend, colleague and ambassador, we know that Fr. Francis will continue to influence both our mission as well as the practice of canon law at Saint Paul University for years to come.”

Fr. Morrisey was an expert in canon law who helped to draft the text of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. He always reminded people of the purpose of law, and those who knew him would attest to his frequent statement: “The law is made for the people, not the people for the law.”

To ensure that the rights and obligations of all were known and respected, Fr. Morrisey tried to find ways in which the law could support faith development and an experience of God’s compassion, not judgment.

In addition to his academic work, Fr. Morrisey offered canonical consultations throughout the world to General Superiors and Dioceses. He was known for his quick turnaround time when anyone asked for advice and support. His passion for his vocation was evident in his usual email response: “I’m in (current location) saving souls!”

Recipient of the Eugène de Mazenod Medal

On May 6, 2020, Saint Paul University awarded Fr. Morrisey the Eugène de Mazenod Medal. This medal honours individuals who have made significant contributions to make their community, their environment and society as a whole more just and humane.

“The Church has been enriched by Frank’s selfless outpouring and, through the Church, cultures and societies throughout the world have also been enriched,” noted Monsignor John Renken, Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at Saint Paul University. “He was esteemed and admired by a plethora of social innovators, church leaders and professional colleagues. He showed himself to be a faithful son of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, who envisioned bringing healing and hope to the peripheries of his own day. Frank has done the same in today’s world.”

May he rest in peace. Amen.

For those who wish, a memorial donation can be made to the Francis Morrisey Scholarship fund, which supports students who are studying canon law. To make a donation, please contact:

Yanick Vallières
Operations and External Relations Coordinator
Alumni and Development Office
223 Main, Ottawa, ON K1S 1C4
613-236-1393 x2539


For more information, please contact:
Julie Bourassa
Communications Officer, Saint Paul University
613-236-1393, ext. 2310


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