Born William Michael Hughes on May 9, 1894 in Welton, Iowa, he was the son of Michael and Anna Pinter. His mother died when he was three so the family farm was sold and he lived with his uncle. He attended St. Ambrose Academy in Davenport, Iowa and upon graduation spent three and one half years at St. Ambrose College where he excelled in sports and academics. It was his roommate, Raymond Fitzpatrick. who encouraged him to study for the priesthood. Fitzpatrick himself drowned one year before his ordination. In January 1919 Hughes entered the Passionist Preparatory Seminary at Cincinnati, Ohio. Novitiate followed in Louisville, Kentucky. He was professed on March 25, 1920. He was ordained on February 1, 1925.
After ordination Father Hughes was sent to Rome to study theology. Such an assignment was a relatively new practice at that time. But Rome was difficult. Living conditions were harsh. He received his Doctor of Theology with difficulty. While in Rome Father Hughes was appointed Director of the International Passionist Students in Rome by Father General Leo Kierkels. Illness continued for Father Hughes and it was a prolonged five year wait until he was able to return to the United States.
For one year he was appointed Director of Students when the 1932 Chapter appointed him Master of Novices which he held for six years. In 1938 he was elected Rector at Detroit, Michigan but illness reemerged and he resigned after one year. After rest he began to preach and work with sisters. But later he was reappointed Director of Students and then quickly resigned. For nine years Father Hughes was back preaching. In 1955 to 1957 he was sent to the novitiate at St. Paul. Kansas as confessor to the novices. Then he was appointed Director of Students in Sacred Eloquence for two years. In 1960 he was in Des Moines, Iowa and did some preaching. On October 7, 1960 he fell and broke his ribs at Sacred Heart Church in Boone, Iowa. He never fully recovered and he died on November 3, 1960.