Fr. William Browne, S.J. ’45 has dedicated all of his 91 years to serving others and wears his pride for his alma mater on his sleeve. You will often find Fr. Bill in the halls of St. Bon’s, as much of his free time is dedicated to the school as he says morning mass in Our Lady’s Oratory, as well as sits on both the St. Bonaventure’s College Board of Governors and the St. Bon’s Alumni Committee.
Fr. Bill attended St. Bon’s from Grade One to Grade Nine, at which time he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was in Halifax that he met the Jesuits and discovered his passion for teaching combined with entering the priesthood. Fr. Bill is an accomplished scholar, with his intensive studies of Philosophy, Theology, Latin, Greek, English and Music taking him all over the globe – from Canada, to the United States, to Rome, Italy. It was in Rome that Fr. Bill earned his Doctorate in Theology, with an emphasis on Liturgy. During this time, he was ordained in 1958 in Toronto.
During his scholarly years, Fr. Bill honed his skills as an educator of high school and college students. Of particular note are his six years spent teaching at Loyola College in Montreal. Fr. Bill was instrumental in building the music programs during this time, where he used his talents as an accomplished singer, organist, pianist, and composer. He then served several more years at Loyola College campus serving at St. Ignatius Parish.
Fr. Bill found his way back to St. John’s in 1982, when placed as St. Pius X Parish. Many parishioners have commented on how Fr. Bill helped the music ministry flourish a St. Pius X. Fr. Bill is an enthusiastic member of the choir to this day.
When he returned to St. John’s, Fr. Bill was extensively involved in the development and establishment of the MacMorran Community Centre, which serves the social and economic needs of the Brophy Place area in St. John’s. Fr. Bill’s natural inclination to reach out to those in need allowed him to not only notice a community which was lacking a safe place for its members, but to do something about it. The MacMorran Centre, as we know it today, is thriving, providing tutoring, play groups, adult social groups, music lessons and more to members of its community.
Fr. Bill’s passion for helping others continued as he spent over 25 years serving as Chaplain at the Health Sciences Centre. During his retirement, Fr. Bill began to spend more time on two of his passions – gardening and singing. Fr. Bill sings in various choirs to this day, with St. Bon’s school song “On the Hill” being one of his favourite to perform!