Father Alfred Cagney, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1872-1941)

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Born John Cagney on June 24, 1872 in Rathkeale, Limerick, Ireland, st fifteen he arrived in the United States and a few weeks later entered the Passionist Prep School at St. Mary’s Monastery, Dunkirk, New York. He professed his Passionist vows on January 19, 1890 and received the religious name Alfred. He was ordained a priest on April 28, 1895 at St. Paul, Kansas at twenty-three years of age. Sadly, his mother died in New York City after arriving from Ireland for the ordination. Father Cagney had a strong knowledge of writers Orestes Brownson and Cardinal Newman. After ordination Father Cagney served as a seminary professor in philosophy: Humanities 1896, 1897; Philosophy, 1897 to 1902. In 1902 he became the first provincial secretary of St. Paul of the Cross Province. He was appointed Vicar of the Holy Cross Retreat, Cincinnati, Ohio. When the provinces divided in 1906 Father Cagney was nominated as rector of Normandy, Missouri. In 1908 he was elected first Consultor to the provincial of Holy Cross Province for six years. He was then elected provincial of Holy Cross Province for two terms. He was then General Consultor in Rome for five years. He loved the foreign missions and was a key person who worked behind the scenes to enter China. Father Cagney was instrumental in founding the Passionist monastery in Des Moines, Iowa. From 1926 to 1928 he was professor of Moral Theology; from 1930 to 1931 he was Procurator of the Chinese Missions at Hankow, China when he had to return because of failed health. At home he was appointed Chaplain at St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland from 1933 to 1936. He served on the National Committee of the Revision of the Catechism. Physically, Father Cagney was a tall stately figure with blue eyes. He had been in failing health for several years in Brighton, Massachusetts before his death.