Father Kieran Richardson, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1907-1985)

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Born Bernard Richardson on May 20, 1907 in Brooklyn, New York he attended Brooklyn Prep for a short time and in 1926 decided to enter Holy Cross Seminary, Dunkirk, New York. after two years of college study there he went to the Passionist novitiate at West Springfield, Massachusetts. On August 15, 1929 he professed his vows and received the name Kieran. Preparation for priesthood in philosophy and theology was completed at St. Ann’s Monastery, Scranton, Pennsylvania and four years at St. Michael’s Monastery, Union City, New Jersey. He was ordained on May 30, 1936 and stayed in Union City for Sacred Eloquence.

After a course in medical preparation Father Richardson was assigned to the Passionist mission in China in 1939. Two days after setting sail on the Canadian ship “Empress of Canada” Hitler invaded Poland. The trip across the Pacific was tense as the German pocket cruiser “Scharnhorst” was out seeking targets. Upon arrival in China he spent two years of language study at the Jesuit language school in Peking. For nine years Father Richardson worked at the Passionist mission in western Hunan which included Yungsui, Hunan where he ran into conflict with local Miao Chinese. Eventually, as World War II progressed in China, Japanese troops came within thirty-five miles of another mission at Supu. Bishop Cuthbert O’Gara insisted Richardson evacuate and suggested he become a chaplain to troops on the Burma Road. Father Richardson agreed. He received an award upon completion of his tour. Furlough allowed him to return to the United States in 1948 and when it was time to return to China the Communist takeover/liberation prevented his return. Thus, he was assigned as curate priest at Immaculate Conception Monastery Parish in Jamaica, New York. Later he was Vicar at St. Gabriel’s Monastery, Brighton, Massachusetts where the first Passionist infirmary was located. Subsequently he joined the Passionist preaching apostolate and conducted parish missions and retreats. In the late 1960s he was appointed Public Relations Officer for the Preaching Mission Apostolate and traveled to various locations in order to secure ministry opportunities for Passionist preachers. In the 1970s emotional illness began to limit Father Richardson’s ability to engage in public ministry. In later years he lived in the Jamaica monastery community and in 1984 moved to the Passionist community in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and lived in the Shrewsbury Nursing Home until his death.

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