THE last surviving sibling of eight children who all entered religious life, Redemptorist Father William Creede, is being remembered as a holy, gentle and wise priest one month after his death.
Fr William Creede died of a short illness on April 30, 2020, at the Redemptorist Community in Kogarah, where he had been stationed for the past 17 years.
He had turned 93 several weeks before on April 11.
Remembered by mourners as a holy, wise, and gentle priest, Fr Creede, who was born in Ireland, was known in Church circles as one of eight siblings, all of whom entered religious life.
Raised in Clayfield, on Brisbane’s inner north, William and his siblings Aina, Thérèse, Moira, Breidha, Bernadette, Thomas, Peter, all became either priests or nuns.
Fr Creede became the sole survivor of this deeply Catholic family when in 2013 his closest sister, Bernadette, whom he regarded as his twin for their shared love of all things holy in Lourdes, “surrendered her soul to God”.
He told The Catholic Leader that year that it was “an extraordinary feeling” being the last member of his immediate family still on earth.
“I’m a little bit shaken, being the last of them,” he told The Catholic Leader.
“There’s no one belonging to me at all.”
Fr Creede said he often visited Rockwood Cemetery, Sydney, where all his family are buried except his sister Moira, a Presentation Sister who is buried at Nudgee Cemetery.
He told The Catholic Leader his plot “was ready there (at Rockwood Cemetery) with Fr Thomas, and next to Bernadette”.
He was laid to rest in that very plot on May 5 following the Mass of Christian Burial in Kogarah.
Fr Creede’s family were parishioners at St Agatha’s church, Clayfield, until 1939, and it was there, during his First Holy Communion, that he felt the call to be a priest.
The first person who inspired his vocation was former Clayfield parish priest, Fr Francis O’Connell, and from there he considered becoming a Columban priest because of their missionary work.
But it was his brother, Thomas, who convinced him to become a Redemptorist.
Thomas was already studying to be a Redemptorist priest at the time.
“I heard a talk at a Redemptorist school, and they said they go to places like the Columbans,” he said.
From his ordination in 1952 until his death, Fr Creede preached in Thailand, China, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, the Philippines, Singapore, Pakistan, Japan, Burma, Laos, and finally back home in Australia.
In 1997, Fr Creede wrote that he had preached more than 500 missions and conducted more than 600 retreats to consecrated religious.
“I am always out in lonely places,” he told The Catholic Leader in 2013.
“Once I got a touch of missionary life, it always appealed to me.
“I could go over again.
“It’s not impossible.”