The funeral Mass for Father Joseph E. Begue, CM, was to be Jan. 11 at the Vincentian Community house in Perryville. Father Begue died Jan. 9. He was 94 and had been a Vincentian since 1948.
Born in Chicago, Father Joe attended parochial schools on Chicago's northside. After high school graduation, he served in the United States Army during World War II. He was stationed in California, Texas, Illinois and overseas. He was discharged on Feb.18, 1946, with the rank of master sergeant.
Helped by the GI Bill, he pursued higher education at De Paul University, then he felt called to serve the poor as lived out by St. Vincent de Paul. He entered the Vincentian novitiate on Sept. 15, 1948, and took vows on Sept. 16, 1950. He completed philosophy and theology studies at St. Mary's of the Barrens in Perryville and was ordained there on May 29, 1955.
After ordination, he taught for three years at St.Vincent's College in Cape Girardeau, then became the director of the Vincentian Press, in St. Louis. The Vincentian Press sold religious items and supplies in bulk for parish priests, laity and religious communities with missions throughout the world. He was well-known in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for selling religious merchandise at a reasonable price. He always had a smile for anyone who entered the store. A hernia surgery, fractures and the aches and pains of a long life didn't slow him down. He worked daily at the Vincentian Press, supported by a devoted lay staff, until his age and health caught up with him and the press closed in December 2011
In addition, Father Begue was also devoted to the traditions of the Church and celebrated the Latin Mass for members of the Catholic community in the archdiocese.