Remembering Jesuit Father William B. Foley

May 16, 2018 - Fr. William B. Foley, SJ, MD, was born in Boston, on February 2nd, 1946.  One of five children of John and Ellen (Cunningham) Foley, he grew up in North Quincy, just south of Boston.  He attended Boston College High School and, upon graduating, in 1963, he entered Shadowbrook, the novitiate of the New England Province.

Though known to family and friends as Brian when he was growing up, somehow from the novitiate onward his Jesuit brothers called him Bill. After novitiate and juniorate, he did philosophy studies at Boston College, also taking chemistry courses (1967-1970).  In 1970, be began medical studies at Georgetown.  He did his residency, in 1974-1975, at St. Christopher Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.  Then he returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts, for theology studies.  He was ordained a priest in 1977. 

Bill’s medical practice, specializing in pediatrics and neonatology, began with four years at Boston City Hospital, followed by two years at St. Margaret’s, where generations of children from the neighborhoods on the south side of Boston had been born.  In these years he also began teaching, at Tufts Medical School.  In 1984-1985, he did tertianship in Omaha, Nebraska.

For the next ten years (1985-1995), Bill practiced medicine and taught at Jefferson Medical School and Hahnemann Medical School, in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.  For another decade (1995-2005), he worked in pediatrics and directed Boys’ Hope/Girls’ Hope, residential centers for at-risk youth, in St. Louis.  This was followed by a year teaching neonatology at St. Louis University Medical School and providing pastoral support for the residents at the school’s hospital. In 2006, he returned to Boston, to the Floating Hospital, a pediatric institution named for a nineteenth-century ship that took poor, sick children on harbor cruises, where they could benefit from fresh air and be seen by a medical staff.   Bill served as a physician there and also did pastoral ministry at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Jamaica Plain, Boston.

In 2007, Bill moved to Campion Center, where he served as chaplain to the men in the health center, while continuing to work as a physician at Boston hospitals and as a priest in Jamaica Plain and St. Charles Borromeo parish in Woburn, Massachusetts.  He continued these commitments tirelessly until 2018, when his health began to fail.  He died, unexpectedly, from a heart attack, at Campion, on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018.


Monday, May 21, 2018 3:00 – 5:00PM (Vigil Service at 4:30 PM)
Campion Center
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
Weston, MA


Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Campion Center
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
Weston, MA


Campion Jesuit Cemetery
Weston, MA

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