Skip to Main Content

James McConica

(Saskatchewan & Exeter 1951) (24 April 1930 - 20 December 2023)

Father James showed academic excellence from an early age when he was selected for a Rhodes Scholarship in 1952. He received a BA degree and an MA in modern History from Oxford University and spent a year at Princeton as a university fellow, and then taught at the University of Saskatchewan. James was granted a leave of absence from 1958-60 for doctoral research at Oxford, where he obtained a PhD from the University in 1960 and a D.Phil in 1963. He then enrolled in the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto and received a MA in Mediaeval Philosophy in 1964. He joined the Basilian Fathers in 1964 and was ordained on December 14, 1968 in the chapel of St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon. He obtained a STB from the University of St. Michael's College in 1968 and a LLD from the University of Saskatchewan in 1986. Additional degrees and honours included: Fellow from the Royal Historical Society in 1964, Fellows, Academy II from the Royal Society of Canada in 1987, Foreign Member from the Royal Belgian Academy in 1988, a D.LIT from the University of Windsor in 1989 and the Order of Canada from the Governor General of Canada in 2001. Among his significant leadership positions, Fr. McConica served as Praeses of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto and President and Vice Chancellor of the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto. He was also an Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, the first Roman Catholic priest to be a fellow of this prestigious institution since the English Reformation. A man of extraordinary scholarship, erudition and culture, Fr. McConica served the Academy and the Church with dedication, devotion and a genuine love for people. He mentored countless students and colleagues, not only imparting to them his vast academic experience but offered them a sterling example of a faithful Catholic priest who embodied and modelled the Basilian motto of "Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge."