Father Kenan Carey, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1896-1958)

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Born Matthew Carey on February 2, 1896 in Brooklyn, New York, he was the son of Arthur Carey and Jane Hawke. He attended St. John’s High School and College, Brooklyn. On August 12, 1919 he professed his Passionist vows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received the religious name Kenan. He was ordained on June 14, 1924 at St. Michael’s Monastery Church, West Hoboken, New Jersey by Bishop Paul J. Nussbaum, C.P. After a year of sacred eloquence he was asked to conduct the novena devotions in honor of St. Gabriel in Union City along with two of his classmates. This was a new devotion in the province. That appears not to have been a strength so he was appointed as director of students at St. Michael’s and asked to coordinate the Confraternity of the Passion which was also a new Passionist organization. This he seemed to succeed in. A major attraction was his idea to have Confraternity crucifixes. Father Carey was a forerunner of this work done by Father Raymond Kohl, C.P. It was about this time, 1926, that the new monastery and retreat house opened in Jamaica, New York and he was assigned as the retreat director. This was a new Passionist minstry and had to be sold to men of that era. He liked the ministry but had to spend a great deal of energy to go out and pay off the debt of the new building. It was the latter task that did not appeal to him and he asked to be relieved of the assignment. It was at this time that he also suffered from iritis which required that he spend long hours in his room in the dark. He also was suffering from an accident which took place in his youth. As a result his capacity to preach missions diminished. However, he still preached when he could in the state of Connecticut. He did have a easy style as a speaker and was a popular writer. He wrote a popular pamphlet entitled on Saint Gemma Galgani and Saint Maria Goretti which he called “The Cinderella Saint.” When he died, Father Carey was working with Father Camillus Barth, C.P on a life of Saint Gabriel and had hoped to write a life of Brother Isidore of the Dutch province. During the one hundredth anniversary of the Passionists in the United States the Friars of the Atonement wanted to do a life of St. Paul of the Cross on the radio and Father Carey fulfilled this assignment. He suffered from kidney stones for about six months prior to his death, yet despite this suffering he was was determined to maintain his preaching assignments.