Father Donald Nealis, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1901-1977)

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Born Sylvester Nealis on August 10, 1901 in Avoca, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Thomas and Mary O’Brien. He graduated from the Wharton School of Finance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He loved music and as a young boy played the piano at a movie theater. Later, he and some friends formed an orchestra. When he was in his early twenties he made a retreat at the Passionist monastery in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Only four showed up because of snow. It was not canceled. This retreat led to him entering the Passionists. He professed his vows on August 15, 1926. His religious name was Donald. He was ordained on May 22, 1932. For one year he was director of students, six years director of the retreat house in Pittsburgh were he also worked in campus ministry at Pitt University and Carnegie Tech. He held discussions at the fraternity houses and at the retreat house. For his work he was named National Chaplain of Phi Kappa fraternity and was the main speaker at their 1937 National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. The title of his address was “Two Cultures: Catholics and Communism” and was printed in the national journal of the fraternity. He also said the daily mass at the Passionist Nuns, Carrick, Pennsylvania, five years preacher of parish missions. provincial econome, military chaplain in the Navy. For twenty years he was business manager of Sign Magazine. During that time subscriptions were at the highest number. He spent one and one half years in West Hartford, Connecticut. In 1965 he was transferred from the Baltimore, Maryland monastery to Brighton.

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