Father Conran Free, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1916-1983)

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Born Walter Free on April 16, 1916 in Jersey City, New Jersey he was the son of Henry and Frances Free. His younger brothers, Father Daniel and Henry also became Passionists. Walter attended St. Bridget’s Grammar School in Jersey City, attended St. Peter’s Prep and then went to Holy Cross Seminary in Dunkirk, New York. In July 1937 he went to the Passionist novitiate in West Springfield, Massachusetts. He professed his vows on August 15, 1938 and received the name Conran. During student life he received a knee injury which bothered him all his life. He was ordained on May 5, 1945 in Newark, New Jersey. Sacred Eloquence was in Baltimore, Maryland. Father Free then had assignments in North Carolina and as an Army Chaplain in El Paso, Texas, Alaska and later in Korea. He received the Korean Service Medal and the Bronze Star. After the military he began to give parish missions and worked as a counselor with kindness and compassion as he blended traditional Catholic teaching with new theology being tested after Vatican II in the 1960s. He died suddenly in a car accident.

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