Father Bennet Kelley, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1920-1997)

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Born Joseph Kelly on September 7, 1920 in Rhode Island, he was the son of Levi and Winifred Kelly. For two years he attended Providence College in Rhode Island. He met a Passionist sister at that time and decided eventually to enter the Passionists in 1940. He professed his vows on August 15, 1941 and received the name Bennet. He was ordained on May 4, 1949. Father Kelley’s first assignment was as a theology teacher. He then spent sixteen years in Union City, New Jersey. He began to give sister’s conferences which became the majority of his ministry until his death. He was Vocation Director for the New Jersey-New York area from 1953 to 1959. In 1966 he was transferred to St. Ann’s Monastery, Scranton, Pennsylvania where he lectured on Vatican II at Misericordia College. In 1968 he moved to West Springfield, Massachusetts and conducted theology programs for lay people, sisters and fellow Passionists. In 1976 Father Kelley was an original member of the Word of the Cross Community in Chelsea, New York. He remained there for twenty years and was a preacher and writer. In June 1994, his health was failing and he was moved to Holy Family Monastery, West Hartford, Connecticut for the final years of his life.