Boys Town priest’s sainthood cause edges forward

Boys Town priest’s sainthood cause edges forward Fr Edward Flanagan

The canonisation cause of a famous Irish-American priest has taken a key step forward with the presentation in the Vatican of a summary of records about his life.

A positio about Roscommon-born Fr Edward Flanagan, founder of Nebraska’s Boys Town community was presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Monday July 22, along with a letter of support from Omaha Nebraska’s Archbishop George Lucas.

Fr Flanagan was born in Leabeg, Co. Roscommon, in 1886, the eighth of 11 children.  He emigrated to the US in 1904, being ordained eight years later. After working with homeless men in Omaha he founded a boarding house for orphans and other boys, and then expanded to found a home known as the Village of Boys Town. Spencer Tracy won an Oscar for playing him in the 1938 film Boys Town.


At the request of US President Harry Truman Fr Flanagan helped care for orphans and other displaced children in defeated Axis countries after the Second World War. He died in Berlin in 1948.

If the congregation is satisfied that Fr Flanagan showed ‘heroic virtue’, it will recommend that Pope Francis declare him ‘venerable’.