American missionary, former vice superior general served retreat center for two decades

Father Joseph Connolly, 1933-2019

Fr_Joseph_Connelly_for_webDivine Word Father Joseph Connolly, who served as vice superior general, died in Hingham, Mass., on Aug. 10 at age 86.

“On behalf of the General Council and indeed on behalf of the entire SVD, I would like to express our sincere condolences to you and USC (Chicago) Province on the loss of an honored member of your province,” wrote Superior General Father Paulus Budi Kleden.

Born to William and Catherine (nee Brennan) Connolly in Melrose, Mass., in 1933, Father Connolly was the middle child of seven siblings. Joseph Connolly professed religious vows in 1952 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1960.

After completing a master’s degree in anthropology from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Father Connolly was assigned to Ghana in West Africa. While there, he served as a parish priest in Saboba in northern Ghana, where he worked among the 78,000 members of the Konkomba tribe.

During his 15 years in Ghana, he also served as district superior, vicar general and vice provincial. In 1977, he was elected provincial, but five months later he was elected to the Society of the Divine Word’s General Council and moved to Rome.

Father Connolly was on the General Council for 11 years—five years as admonitor general and six years as vice superior general, the second highest position in the worldwide Society of the Divine Word. Completing his term on the General Council, he was called upon to serve as rector of Nemi, the congregation’s foremost site for spiritual renewal classes, on the outskirts of Rome.

In 1995, he was assigned to Boston to work in development, and in 2000, he joined the staff of Miramar Retreat Center in Duxbury, Mass.

“Father Connolly was especially beloved by the lay retreatants and the religious sisters who sought him out for spiritual direction,” said Divine Word Brother Donald Champagne, rector of the Miramar Retreat Center.

Father Connolly is survived by his brothers James, Francis and John Connolly.

His wake will be Saturday Aug. 17, at 10 a.m., followed by his funeral at noon, at Holy Family Church in Duxbury, Mass. Holy Family church is located at 601 Tremont St. He will be buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery at Techny, Ill.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in the name of Father Connolly for the care of retired missionaries and may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.


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