Archbishop Francis J. L. Beckman was
the sixth Bishop of the Dubuque diocese, (1930-1946). He was ordained
June 20, 1902, appointed Bishop of Lincoln in December 1923, and was
apostolic administrator of Omaha from June 1, 1926 to July 4, 1928.
Bishop Beckman was elevated to Archiepiscopal Dignity and transferred to
Dubuque on January 17, 1930.
diocesan publication, The Witness, stated that "Archbishop Beckman has
faith in organizations... and has organized every sort of activity in
the diocese". Having begun his leadership shortly after the Stock Market
crash in October 1929, he organized the archdiocesan bureau of
charities and encouraged growth of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. The
first archdiocesan meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Women
was held under his direction in October of 1932.
that Dubuque was to a large extent a rural diocese, Archbishop Beckman
sought to have farmers solve their problems in the light of Christian
teachings by organizing a local division of the National Catholic Rural
Life Conference. In October 1932, he invited the national convention to
meet in Dubuque.
Beckman founded the Catholic Students' Mission Crusade while he was
rector of St. Mary's Seminary in Cincinnati. The organization had grown
to over 1 million members by the time he arrived in Dubuque. In August
of 1935 he sponsored the national convention of the Catholic Students'
Mission Crusade in Dubuque.
zeal to advocate devotion to the Eucharist prompted him to promote
Archdiocesan pilgrimages to national Eucharistic Congresses, in New
Orleans in 1938 and Minneapolis in 1941. He eventually became the
national chaplain of the Confraternity of Pilgrims. In March 1940, he
announced the establishment of the Men's Nocturnal Adoration Society.
Beckman had a strong commitment to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. "Viewing
with alarm the disintegration of family life, he sought a remedy through
the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who had promised St. Margaret Mary that He
would protect any home where He was honored. In his effort to counteract
the secularistic spirit of our age, he urged the consecration of
priests and people in a special manner to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by
Enthroning Him solemnly in the homes and renewing through daily prayers
by the family this allegiance to Christ, the King of Kings and the sole
hope of salvation for mankind. His intense devotion to the Sacred Heart
seems to have been singularly recognized by God who called him to
Himself on the feast day of St. Margaret Mary." The Witness, Nov. 1948
to failing health, he resigned from his duties as Archbishop on
November 11, 1946. During his episcopate, he dedicated four churches,
raised six to the status of a parish, opened three elementary schools,
and personally ordained 133 of the 156 archdiocesan young men to the
priesthood. During World War II he sent 41 chaplains for service into
the United States with the armed forces. Archbishop Beckman died at
Alexian Brothers' Hospital, Chicago, on October 17, 1948. (Information
compiled from "Seed/Harvest" and the Archdiocese of Dubuque archives
Francis Joseph L. Beckman, being of sound mind, do hereby make this my
last will and testament. ... I commend my soul to God, leaving my body
to be buried next to my reverend predecessors in the See of Dubuque, as
simply and as inexpensively as possible. I go to my Father in heaven, to
the embrace of his son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, my King of
love to receive the kiss of God, the Holy Spirit by whom I was signed
and sealed as Priest and Bishop of His Church. ... I accept my death in
whatever time, place, and manner it may come as an act of homage, love
and devotion to my God. .... I ask the priests whom I loved so much to
take the occasion of my death to renew their priestly life, ever to live
and 'grow in the grace that is in them by the imposition of hands,'
ever more to be transformed into Him in their Mass, to be assimilated
unto Him in their Communions, to become 'living chalices' overflowing
with Him, to show Jesus to the people in their lives, words and works."