Father George J Willmann

Father George J WillmannAlso known as

  • Father of the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines


One of seven children born to William Godfrey and Julia Corcoran Willmann; two his sisters became members of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. George entered the Jesuit seminary in Poughkeepsie, New York on 15 August 1915. Sent to the Philippines in 1922 to teach, returning to his theological studies in the United States in 1925. Ordained a Jesuit priest at Woodstock College in Maryland on 20 June 1928. Director of the New York Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau from 1930 to 1936. He returned to the Philippines in November 1936 where he resumed teaching at the Ateneo de Manila. Prefect of Discipline and Treasurer at the Ateneo de Manila from 1936 to 1937. Director of the first National Eucharistic Congress in Manila in 1937. Dean of Ateneo de Manila in 1937. Founded the Catholic Youth Organization in the Philippines in 1938, and served as its chaplain for 39 years. He joined the Knights of Columbus on 30 June 1938, and chosen chaplain of the Manila Council. Following the start of World War II in the Pacific, he helped establish servicemen’s clubs for the American military in December 1941. Began teaching at the San Jose Seminary in Manila from 1942 to 1951; in 1948 he became the seminary‘s treasurer. Captured at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila by Japanese occupation forces in July 1944, he became a prisoner of war in a concentration camp in Los Banos, Philippines until freed by American forces in 1945. Because of his life’s work and service, Father George was granted Filipino citizenship on 1 July 1975. Awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal on 29 June 1977 by Pope Paul VI. His Cause for Canonization has opened.



MLA Citation

  • “Father George J Willmann“. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 May 2020. Web. 18 April 2021. <>