Rev. Patrick L. Leary, CSV, died Feb. 9, 1926, after suffering from poor health for a number of years. His last weeks were spent at Alexian Brothers Hospital in Chicago, before he was given leave to rest at the home of relatives in Pennsylvania, where he died. His Viatorian community, friends and relatives were shocked at his early passing. He was 45.
Fr. Leary was born Nov. 19, 1880 in Mahanoy Plane, PA, where as a young boy, he labored in miner’s work and also served at Mass and cared for the altar.
He entered the Clerics of St. Viator in 1897 and professed his first vows on Jul. 1, 1899. After vows, he spent the next five years at Holy Name School in Chicago, where he excelled at teaching the younger grades.
Fr. Leary then began his study of philosophy and theology at St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, while also teaching and serving as assistant prefect of discipline. He professed his final vows Jul. 4, 1908 and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree that same year.
Fr. Leary was ordained to the priesthood on July 3, 1911 and was appointed to Columbus College in Chamberlain, SD and later made pastor of a church in Chamberlain. One year later, Fr. Leary returned to Chicago to become master of novices, a position he filled with marked success. When this term ended in 1920, Fr. Leary returned to parish work at St. Edward Church in Chicago and also served as chaplain at the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Chicago.
When his health began to fail in 1923, he returned to St. Viator College with no assigned duties. He made a valiant effort to regain his health but to little avail.
The Rev. Walter J. Surprenant, CSV, provincial of the Viatorian Community, celebrated a solemn high Mass was celebrated on Feb. 15 at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bourbonnais. A friend of Fr. Leary’s the Rev. William J. Bergin, CSV, delivered a most touching and fitting eulogy.
Fr. Leary was buried in the Viatorian Community plot at Maternity BVM Cemetery. Those who knew him, remember him as saintly and a deeply spiritual religious and priest. May he rest in peace.
Taken from “The Viatorian,” the newspaper of St. Viator College, dated Feb. 1926