A chance meeting between Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, and 95-year old Sr. Ann Sharp, OSB at
the Benedictine Monastery in Chicago, resulted in bringing to life a Viatorian brother, who spent less than one year in the community and died at the age of 21.
Br. William Sharp, CSV, joined the Viatorian Community in 1938 and nearly one year later he passed away from tuberculosis. He was able to profess his first vows within the first few months of entering, due to his failing health. He passed away Aug. 24, 1939.
“He always had a sense of God about him, but at the same time he was just a normal kid who liked to play baseball,” Sr. Ann
remembers. “We were very close. Bill was just special.”
They grew up in a family of six children, first in Michigan before moving to Chicago. Bill Sharp attended the former St. George High School in Evanston, which was run by the Christian Brothers.
He sought to become a novice in the Christian Brothers while still in high school, but ultimately had to drop out due to pleurisy. While he recovered, Fr. John Bradac, CSV, was a regular visitor to their home during his years as a Chicago-based missionary, and family members credit him with inviting Bill to join the Viatorians.
When Bill recovered, he finished his last year in 1937 at Lakeview High School in Chicago. At about the same time, his younger sister was transferring to St. Scholastica High School, run by the Benedictine Sisters, as an aspirant.
As it would turn out, Sr. Ann entered the novitiate one month before her brother entered the Viatorian novitiate, then located in Bourbonnais. Since she was separated from her family, she knew little of her brother’s deteriorating condition.
She made her first vows just one week before he passed away.
Sr. Ann still keeps a framed photo of Br. William on her dresser and she cherishes a letter written to the family back in the 1950s that recounted the number of religious vocations among their extended members. It closed with these words: “Remember, too, that we have a great saint in your brother, Bill.”