Father Eugene Creegan, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1871-1947)

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Born James Creegan on November 13, 1871 in Brooklyn, New York, he professed his Passionist vows on August 7, 1889 and received the religious name Eugene. He was ordained on April 28, 1895 at St. Paul, Kansas. In the provincial chapter of 1911 he was elected the superior of Holy Cross Retreat, Cincinnati, Ohio. Later he held the office of provincial four times. During his early years as a superior it is said that he respected severity more than leniency. For him the Rules and Regulations of the Congregation, the regular observance of prayer as well as intense regard for those who did not live up to these norms occupied his attention. Essentially some in the province feared this attitude, though they knew that it came from a sense of knowing the early founders of the province. Keeping this in mind he was respected for his concern on these issues of Passionist life. During his first term as Passionist provincial of Holy Cross Province expansion was the primary concern. The site of the Passionist prep school was changed. The foundation in Des Moines, Iowa was established and the invitation was acted upon to establish the Passionists in the Los Angeles, California area. Even with all the rules and regulations there were some practical decisions which enhanced Passionist life. For instance, he allowed newly ordained Passionists to go home for their first solemn Mass after their ordination. Part of this was because his own mother had to borrow money to come to his first Mass in Kansas! Other attention was paid to increased comfort in the monasteries and a greater concern for charity and hygiene in daily life. His obituary summary states: “Some of his arrangements with regard to the observbance, arrangements still in force [1947], were not well recieved; but always,” the writer concuded, “Eugene meant well.” Along with this attention to leadership he was respected as a retreat master for religious communities of sisters. This was his audience more than that of parish missions. He also worked hard to promote the Calvarian Society, the purpose of which was to increase devotion to the Way of the Cross. As he aged and left his leadership position he did mellow somewhat.