Father Agatho Clifford, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1878-1907)

Home / Biography / Father Agatho Clifford, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1878-1907)

Born May 27, 1878 in Dunkirk, New York, he was the son of William Clifford and Catherine Foley. He entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary at St. Mary’s, Dunkirk in the spring of 1896. He professed his Passionist vows on October 26, 1897 and was ordained a priest on August 9, 1903. Earlier on January 5, 1901, then seminarian, Clifford fell eighty feet down an elevator shaft located on the south tower of St. Michael’s Church, West Hoboken, New Jersey. Miraculously he survived! However, until his death he was often dealing with attacks of pain. For many months after the fall he was at St. Mary’s Hospital, Hoboken, New Jersey. The decision to operate on him, however, was not made. It was during his hospitalization that he was ordained and he celebrated his first Mass in the hospital chapel. When he could, he visited other patients. In the spring of 1904 it was thought best that he be sent back to his home town of Dunkirk as an assistant pastor where he organized the St. Stephen’s Militia. In the fall of 1905 he was transferred to Holy Cross Monastery, Cincinnati, Ohio where he also did parish work. Most important was his work teaching Gregorian Chant in light of the new liturgical directives promulgated by Pope Pius X. This new sense of health however proved to be an aberration. It was at that time that he agreed to have an operation, but before it could be performed he was stricken by an attack of pain that resulted in his death.