NICHOLAS J. FRANCHE, pastor of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church at
Villa Maria, in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, is well known to the
people of the county. He has held his present pastorate since 1881, and
during the twenty-seven years which have since elapsed he has ever been
found fighting valiantly for the supremacy of right and justice, and the
uplift of the community, spiritually, morally and intellectually. The
parochial institution over which he has Divine guidance is conducted by
the Sisters of the Holy Humility of Mary, and is an old institution
which has educated many who have attained prominence in the various
walks in life. It was established some time prior to 1864 and until that
date was in charge of Sisters of Charity, with headquarters at
Cleveland, Ohio. In that year the Sisters of the Holy Humility of Mary
came from France and assumed charge. Prior to the sisters of Charity, it
was conducted by the Franciscan Brothers.
Rev. Nicholas J. Franche was born in the
Province of Lorraine, France, June 2, 1851, and is a son of John D. and
Marie (Sibille) Franche, natives of France and both now deceased. Father
Franche received a classical and ecclesiastical education in the
seminaries of his native land, and in 1874 came to America, where he was
ordained in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1875, by Bishop Fitzgerald, now
deceased, of Little Rock, Ark. His first charges were the Missions at
South Thompson and Archibald, in Ohio, and he continued there some six
years, at the end of which time he was called to his present pastorate.
He has been a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1880, and
although a Democrat in national politics, is of independent tendencies.
He exerts a powerful influence in the community, and enjoys the love and
respect of his fellow citizens regardless of any religious differences
they may hold.
Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, pages 971