William Clancy, OFM
1897 – 1977
Fr. William Clancy, OFM, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on Aug. 12, 1897. He graduated from St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.
In 1920, he entered the Province’s novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., on his 23rd birthday. He professed his temporary vows the following year and made his profession of solemn vows in 1924. Fr. William was ordained a priest in 1927.
After ordination, he was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City, and his preaching abilities were soon recognized. In 1929, Fr. Bill was appointed the first director of retreats at St. Francis Friary in Brookline, Mass. He organized the Laymen’s Retreat League and ministered for six years promoting the retreat movement in the Boston area.
For a dozen years, he was a member of the provincial mission band and was a popular preacher of retreats and parish missions. Fr. Bill served as guardian of St. Patrick’s in Buffalo, N.Y., and St. Anthony’s in Butler, N.J., and was known for his courtesy and gentleness.
Fr. Bill’s final 28 years were spent back at St. Francis in New York, where he was a patient and thoughtful confessor for both young and old. He celebrated his golden jubilee of ordination at St. Anthony’s in St. Petersburg, Fla., and then retired to the Provincial Infirmary at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y.
His ability to relax to the point of unconsciousness was well known among the friars. At his ordination, when the signal was given for the elect to rise after the prostration, one of his classmates had to rouse Fr. Bill out of a sound sleep by kicking him.
He died Aug. 7, 1977, at the infirmary. Fr. William was just five days short of his 80th birthday, a professed friar for almost 56 years and a priest for 50 years.