Father Joseph Patrick O’Neil, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1897-1958)

Home / Biography / Father Joseph Patrick O’Neil, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1897-1958)

Born William O’Neil on March 11, 1897 in Rensselaer, New York, he was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Davenport. He attended St. John’s Academy and Rensselaer High School. He graduated from Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts in 1918 as the valedictorian of his class. After graduation he entered the Army and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery. After World War I he joined and remained active in the American Legion. For a short time he was employed as an engineer at General Electric, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and then he decided to pursue journalism and was News Editor of the Knickerbocker Press, Albany, New York as well as the Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York. He was a staff member of the Associated Press. He then became city editor and night editor of the Springfield Union, Springfield, Massachusetts for five years. In 1928 he resigned from that position to enter the Passionists. He spent a short time at Holy Cross Seminary, Dunkirk, New York before he went to the novitiate at West Springfield, Massachusetts. He professed his vows on December 17, 1929. His religious name was Joseph Patrick. He was ordained on June 15, 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland. After ordination he was professor of philosophy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and then he was assigned to be retreat director at Our Lady of Sorrows, West Springfield. Serving first as the assistant retreat director, from 1935 until 1942 he was the retreat director. Attendance rose from several hundred men a year to three thousand each year. In 1942 he entered the army as a military chaplain. After World War II Father O’Neil and Father Clement Buckley, C.P. inaugurated a five year refresher course in sacred eloquence. He was a preacher of missions, novenas and triduums. His last assignment was as associate retreat director in Brighton, Massachusetts where he also conducted the School of Social Action. Ill health forced him to discontinue this work

Related Biographies