John Camillus Rubba, O.P.

John Camillus Rubba, O.P.


Birth: October 30, 1903

Profession: September 9, 1926

Ordination: May 20, 1932

Died: June l7, 2000

John Rubba was born in Hammonton, NJ the son of Matthew and Mary (Angelo) Rubba. He attended Hammonton public grammar (1912-18) and high school (1918-22) before attending Providence College (1923-25). In 1925 he entered the novitiate of St. Joseph’s Province at St. Rose Priory, Springfield, KY receiving the religious name Camillus. Following simple profession, he studied philosophy at the Dominican House of Studies, River Forest, IL (1926-29). His first year of theology was at St. Joseph Priory, Somerset, OH (1929-30). The remainder of his theological studies was at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC (1930-33). He was ordained by Michael J. Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore at St. Dominic’s Church, Washington, DC.

Fr. Rubba spent the first years of his priesthood doing graduate work at the following institutions: The Catholic University of America (1933-34), University of Florence, Italy (1934-36), and the University of Milan, Italy (1936-38) graduating with a Doctor of Literature Degree.

Beginning in 1938 Fr. Rubba began an illustrious sixty-year career at Providence College, Providence, RI. Here he taught Italian and Spanish, retiring from teaching in 1973. But his interests went far beyond the classroom.  He was devoted to the Dominican Third Order Chapter at Providence College; an advocate for Cuban, Spanish, and Laotian refugee causes; had a missionary-like attitude for the rehabilitation of alcoholics and derelicts; was an excellent gardener. Besides these, he frequently contributed articles to Catholic newspapers and magazines. He published many brochures among which are: Saintly Dominicans in the Americas; Sister Ana of the Angels; The Martyrs of Tonkin; St. John Macias; Father Vincent Bernedo. He was a frequent and popular guest speaker and retreat leader in the Providence Diocese.

Due to his declining health, Fr. Rubba spent the last month of his life at St. Antoine Residence in North Smithfield, RI. Here he died at the age of 96.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Fr. Norman A. Haddad, O.P., Provincial, with the homily delivered by Fr. Joseph Guido, O.P. He was buried in the Dominican Friars’ Cemetery at Providence College. Father Rubba truly exemplified the Dominican ideal of sharing with others the fruits of one’s contemplation.

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