William A. Marsden, O.S.A.

1853 – 1883 (February 17)

William Augustine Marsden, son of Laurence Marsden and Helen Duckett, was born in Clitheroe, England, on December 8, 1853. His two older brothers, Charles and John, were also members of our Province. In 1858, at the age of six, he immigrated to the United States with his siblings and his mother, settling in Lansingburgh, New York, where, presumably, their father had preceded them. Following his early education, William entered Villanova in 1872, and began his novitiate there in 1873. He made his first profession on January 25, 1874, just weeks after the first Provincial Chapter had been held. He was solemnly professed on January 26, 1877, and was ordained to the priesthood on July 14, 1877, by Bishop Shanahan of Harrisburg, PA. A little more than two months later, his oldest brother, Father Charles Marsden, passed away at the age of 31.

In 1878 Father William was a member of the Villanova Monastery community. He was one of the friars present, together with his brother, John, at the funeral of Bishop Galberry in Hartford, Connecticut, in October, 1878. A year later, in October 1879, his second brother, Father John Marsden, passed away at the age of 28. In June 1881, Father William was sent temporarily, to replace Father Filippo Izzo in Mechanicville. In July, however, he was sent to Cambridge, N.Y. to serve as rector of Saint Patrick’s Parish. The following year he was named prior as well.

Father William Marsden died at Saint Patrick’s Parish on February 17, 1883, at the age of 29. The Funeral Mass was celebrated there on February 20th in the presence of Bishop Francis McNeirny, bishop of Albany. Father Arthur McCranor preached the homily. That same day the body was taken to Lawrence, Massachusetts where a Solemn Requiem Mass was offered by Father Francis Rowan, O.S.A. with burial following in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lawrence. Both Father Marsden’s mother and sister traveled to Lawrence for the burial. 

When Saint Patrick’s Church in Cambridge was rededicated on Sunday, June 14, 1885, during the pastorate of Fr. McCranor, Father William was memorialized in the window dedicated to Saint Augustine.