The Converys of Dreenan

By William Convery


Rev William John Convery VF

Rev. Msgr. William John Convery V.F.
1863 - 1937



Born 1st December* 1863 in Dreenan, son of Patrick Convery and Jane O'Neill,
and attended St. Malachy's College in Belfast studying philosophy and theology before training in All Hallows College, Dublin,  and he was ordained by Bishop Murray on the 24th June 1889 into the priesthood and emigrated to the USA. to the Diocese of Dubuque.

On his arrival in Iowa a short period  was spent as an assistant at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Garryowen Cascade, Iowa Falls and Eldora up to the end of 1889.

On 1st Jan 1890 he was appointed Catholic pastor  serving in St Peters Church, Temple Hill.

Later on
the 11th May 1902 he was appointed pastor of St Mary's Church, Eldora, Iowa, with Iowa Falls as an out mission.

During the month of June 1912 he was appointed pastor  and dean at the Immaculate Conception parish, Charles City
 where he remained until his sudden death on the 22nd August 1937 whilst on holiday back in Ireland.

On 3rd Nov 1934 due to his long and faithful service he was elevated to rank of domestic prelate, with it earning the title of "Right Reverent Monsignor"


He is interred in his native parish at St Marys church, Mayogall, Lavey, Ireland.


* 1st February 1863 according to Civil Records and 2nd February 1863 in the Cascade Pioneer

Here is what was recorded in the
All Hallows Annual 1938- 1939


The Right Revd. Mgr. W.J. Convery  V.F.

It was with dismay we learnt of the unexpected death in August, 1937, of this humble saintly  priest.   We had the pleasure of welcoming him back to the Alma Mater in the previous June.  Like the eagle, he came to renew his youth, not in a mere resurrection of memories of happy hours spent in All Hallows, but in the stirring up of the grace that was given to him in ordination here on June 24th, 1889. Knowing the value of a retreat, he came to the peace of college for his last retreat. We little knew it was to be his last retreat, but he seems to have known it himself. I met him on the morning he came from his solitude and I thanked him for giving us all such good example, expressing at the same time the hope that he might be spared to edify us again in a similar way.  " It is easy, Father," he said to me, " to be earnest when death is near. I fear I shall not make another retreat."


On ordination day, after the presentation of the prizes, the President invited him to speak to the students. He did so, simply, directly and with undeniable sincerity, emphasising the importance of zeal, and the danger of forgetting the dignity of the priesthood. The young priest, he said, should put duty and priestly work before all else. He might well have offered us his own life as his teaching in practice. Kindliness, humility, love for the things of God characterised him.


He was born at Lavey, Co. Derry, in 1863, of parents who were, as he said himself, far more rich in faith and spiritual things than in this world's goods. At the end of his course in St. Malachy's College, Belfast, he came to All Hallows, where he was ordained for the Archdiocese of Dubuque. In 1912 he became parish priest of Charles City, Iowa, a charge which he retained until his death. Vir simplex, et rectos, et timens Deum.


Page 94 All Hallows Annual 1938- 1939



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