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Kenealy, William J.


Biographical Note

William J. Kenealy, SJ was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1904. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1922 and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1934. Kenealy began his post-secondary education at Boston College, where he earned an A.B. and M.A. in 1928 and 1929. He was initially a member of the inaugural class at Boston College Law School, though he completed his law studies at the Gregorian University in Rome, receiving a Ph.D. there in 1932. He also received a licentiate in sacred theology from Weston College in 1935 and a bachelor of laws from Georgetown University in 1939. After completing his education, Kenealy became dean and professor of law at Boston College Law School from 1939-1956. He took leave from 1942-1945 to serve as a chaplain in the United States Navy during World War II; he was stationed aboard the USS California in the Pacific. Upon his return to Boston College, he initiated the Post-War Program to help veterans interested in studying law. Kenealy took a position as a visiting professor of law at Loyola University of New Orleans, followed by Loyola University of Chicago, between 1956 and 1963, after which he returned to the faculty at Boston College Law School. His scholarship focused on social justice; church and state relations; and law and morals. He was a strong advocate for civil rights and desegregation. In 1968 Kenealy left teaching to head the new Jesuit Social Apostolate National Office in Washington, D.C. Over the next few years he joined the New England Province Forum of the Society of Jesus, and became an inaugural member of the National Committee for Human Development. Kenealy also began serving on the Board of Trustees at both Boston College (a position he also held from 1946-1956) and Wheeling College starting in 1970. Kenealy died in 1974.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William J. Kenealy, SJ papers


These papers document the career of Jesuit, legal scholar, and social activist William J. Kenealy, SJ. Materials include addresses, articles, correspondence, ephemera, minutes, and reports spanning Kenealy's work at Boston College and Loyola University Law Schools, the National Committee for Human Development, and as director of the Jesuit Social Apostolate National Office.

Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Audiovisual materials have not been reformatted and are not available for use at this time.

Dates: 1935 - 1974; Majority of material found within 1956 - 1972