James E. Connery, O.S.A.

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1906 – 1982 (June 4)

James Edward “Ned” Connery, son of William H. Connery and Elizabeth Anne Croke, was born in Troy, New York, on August 14, 1906, and was baptized by his uncle Father John A. Hogan, O.S.A. His early education was obtained at Saint Peter Academy and at Troy High School, after which he attended Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, N.Y. Received as a novice on September 8, 1927, he made profession of first vows on September 9, 1928, and solemn vows on September 9, 1931. He graduated from Villanova College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in June, 1932, and completed his theological training at Augustinian College, Washington, D.C., where he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop James Ryan at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on June 11, 1935. While in Washington he took graduate courses at Catholic University.

Father Connery’s first assignment, in 1936, was as a teacher at Colegio San Agustin, Iloilo, in the Philippine Islands. He was named vice-rector of the Colegio in 1939 and returned to the United States before the start of World War II. With his facility in, and appreciation of, Spanish culture he was appointed to teach at Colegio San Agustin at El Cristo Parish in Havana, Cuba in 1941. He was named pastor, in 1947, of the parish of Saint Augustin, La Sierra, Marianano, Cuba, and served as prior there as well for three terms. 

With the advance of Fidel Castro’s forces in 1961, Father Connery returned to the United States, and served as assistant pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish, Hoosick Falls, N.Y., and later at Saint Mary’s Parish, Waterford, N.Y. In 1963 he was assigned to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in the Bronx, and remained there until he retired to Saint Thomas Monastery, Villanova, in 1980.
Father Connery was endowed with a deep compassion for human frailty and a gentle sense of humor. Promptly at 6:30 AM every morning, penitents found him ready in the confessional. He exemplified all that is best in community life, a joy to live with, and the soul of hospitality to all.
At the age of 75, Father Connery died at Villanova Monastery on June 4, 1982 and was buried in the Augustinian plot of Saint John Cemetery, Troy, N.Y.