Feb. 8, 2023 – Father Francis E. Renfroe, SJ, died Feb. 4, 2023, in Grand Coteau, La. He was 90 years old, a Jesuit for 67 years and a priest for 54 years.
Father Renfroe will be remembered in a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, in Sacred Heart Chapel at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. Visitation will be in the same location beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. Burial will be in the Jesuit cemetery at St. Charles College.
Francis Renfroe was born in Breckenridge, Texas, on May 19, 1932, to James W. and Zita I. Dunham Renfroe. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers Jack, Gayle, David and James and his sister, Mary Ellen Lake.
Father Renfroe attended Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas, graduating in 1949, before serving in the U.S. Navy from 1953 – 1955. Feeling called to religious life, he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) on Sept. 19, 1955, at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. He pronounced first vows on Sept. 26, 1957, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1968, at Sacred Heart Church in Dallas. He pronounced his final vows at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 5, 1972.
Father Renfroe returned to Jesuit College Preparatory School in Dallas as a teacher, serving there from 1962 to 1965. Following his ordination, he served as associate pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and Shrine in San Antonio, Texas (1970-76) and Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque, N.M., before becoming pastor of Immaculate Conception after a year.
In 1980, Fr. Renfroe accepted a missionary assignment at Parroquia Nazareth in Asunción, Paraguay. This was followed by similar assignments in Posadas, Argentina (1981-83), where he was also the Jesuit superior, and Villa Cristina in Asunción, where he again served as Jesuit superior.
He worked as a chaplain at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston before returning to Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque, where he served from 1991 to 2000. His final active ministry was at Sacred Heart Parish in El Paso, Texas, where he remained for 17 years and was much loved by the Hispanic community.
Father Renfroe began a ministry of prayer for the Church in 2017 at the Jesuit senior community in Grand Coteau.
Father Renfroe earned a master’s degree in philosophy at Spring Hill College, Mobile, Ala. His theology studies were at St. Mary’s College, St Marys, Kan., and at Saint Louis University in St. Louis.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through Fr. Renfroe’s life of service to God and God’s people.
Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website.