Theodore Foley

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Fr. Theodore Foley, C.P. (March 3, 1913 – October 9, 1974) was a Roman Catholic priest and the superior general of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ from 1964–1974. On May 9, 2008, the cause for beatification and canonization of Father Foley was opened in Rome.[1]


Daniel Bible Foley was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 3, 1913 the son of Michael and Helen Bible Foley. He attended Mass at Sacred Heart parish in Springfield. He was educated at Sacred Heart Grammar School, Cathedral High School, and later Holy Cross Preparatory Seminary, Dunkirk, New York.

He professed his vows on August 15, 1933 at Our Mother of Sorrows Retreat, West Springfield, Massachusetts and received the religious name Theodore.

On April 23, 1940, he was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood, in Baltimore, Maryland, by Archbishop Michael Joseph Curley, of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. He was superior general of the Passionist men's religious order from 1964 until his death on October 9, 1974.[2][3]

From 1941 to 1942 he was professor of philosophy for the Passionists.[4] In 1944 he graduated with a Ph.D. in Theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. From 1944 he taught theology as a member of the Passionist Seminary faculty at St. Michael's Monastery, Union City, New Jersey.[5] From 1953 to 1956 he was Director of Passionist Seminarians. In 1956 he was appointed Rector of St. Paul's Monastery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1958 he was elected General Consultor for the Passionists in Rome.[6] On May 7, 1964 Fr. Foley was elected Superior General of the Passionists throughout the world. He was the first American from the eastern United States to hold this position. He guided the Passionists through Vatican II (1962–1965). In 1970 he was re-elected as Superior General. He died after contracting an illness on a trip to Asia.

Canonization Process

On June 23, 2009, Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell was on hand at the Sacred Heart Church in order to bless a ceremony in honor of Fr. Theodore Foley.[7] Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell said of Fr. Foley:

There is holiness and then there is the superheroes of holiness, and many people recognized him as a superhero of holiness.[8]

Father Foley is the only person to ever be a candidate for sainthood in western Massachusetts.[9]


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