Father Stephen Kendrick, C.P., Holy Cross Province (1874-1944)

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Born Charles Kendrick on June 7, 1874 at Hassard, Missouri, he was the son of Jerome and Sarah Gough Kendrick. He was one of eight children, two of whom died in infancy. Charles went to the little red schoolhouse in Hassard County. He loved sports as a youngster. From 1891 to 1893 he went on to attend the Christian Brothers College in St. Louis, Missouri where he took commercial courses. It was there he began to show an interest in the religious life. Once he graduated in June 1893 he returned home and took a job at J.J. Rodgers Dry Goods and Clothing Store in Monroe City, Missouri where he was a clerk and bookkeeper. This served him well for a time. He was a popular sportsman and loved to attend the local dances.

However, like his older brother Pius, the religious life beckoned. Pius had entered the Passionist novitiate in 1893 and was known as Lambert. So in 1897 Charles left his job and went back to the Christian Brothers for more schooling. In 1899 he entered the Passionist novitiate in Pittsburgh. Father Denis Callagee was his novice master. Charles was professed on June 6, 1901 at the age of twenty-seven with the religious name Stephen.

After profession Kendrick was sent to St. Joseph’s Monastery, Baltimore for philosophy. After two years there, both he and Father Isidore Smith, C.P. were chosen to study in Rome. Kendrick and Smith received minor orders on October 17, 1903. On October 19, 1903 they left for Rome.

Father Kendrick found life at Sts. John and Paul in Rome to be difficult. There was a constant damp chill that pervaded the monastery. The American Passionists were assigned an Italian companion and on special days were dispensed from the monastic silence to be able to speak to one another. Kendrick found the food difficult. His health began to fail. So sick was Stephen Kendrick that he was ordained early in Rome on October 29, 1905. Luckily he returned home to the United States in the summer of 1906 or he might have died.

The first provincial of Holy Cross province Charles Lang was greatly concerned about the health of Kendrick once he returned to the States. He was sent to the country to regain his health. Once it improved Father Kendrick went to the St. Louis Retreat where he served as chaplain to the Good Shepherd Sisters. From 1910 to 1916 he was pastor of St. Ann’s Church, which the Passionists staffed in Normandy, Missouri. In 1916 he was on the parish staff at Immaculate Conception in Chicago. He returned to St. Ann’s in 1920 and continued as pastor until he was appointed vicar of Holy Cross Monastery in Cincinnati. From 1923 to 1929 he was vicar at Sacred Heart Retreat in Louisville. He was elected Rector of that foundation by the 1932 Provincial Chapter and was re-elected in 1935. Father Kendrick was kind as a superior. He often allowed for extra recreation. This generosity often led to criticism from those who thought he should be more rigorous.

At the end of his second term he went to the Passionist retreat at Des Moines, Iowa and then on to St. Louis where he gave conferences to sisters and heard many priests’ confessions. In 1940 he was confessor to the Good Shepherd Sisters. By 1942 he was practically blind.

On August 26, 1944 he suffered a stroke. Father Kendrick died on September 27, 1944. His health had been failing for two years. He was buried at St. Louis.