William Joseph Hill, O.P.

William Joseph Hill, O.P., S.T.M.


Birth: March 30, 1924

Profession: August 16, 1944

Ordination: June 10, 1950

Died: October 12, 2001

William Joseph Hill was born in North Attleboro, MA to William and Rita (Lanteigne) Hill. In that city he attended Town Street Grammar School (1929-32) and Mt. Hope Street School (1932-35) and North Attleboro Junior High School (1935-37) and High School (1937-41). He spent the next two years at Providence College (1941-43) before entering the Novitiate of St. Joseph Province at St. Rose Priory, Springfield, KY. Here he took as his religious name his baptismal name William and was professed a year later.

Br. William studied philosophy at St. Joseph Priory, Somerset, OH (1944-47) and theology at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC (1947-51). He was ordained to the priesthood by the Most Rev. Edward Celestine Daly, Bishop of Des Moines, IA. He received the doctorate in Sacred Theology at the University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome (1951-52).

Fr. Hill spent his entire priestly ministry in the teaching apostolate. He taught dogmatic theology at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC from 1953-71. During this time he also taught at Dunbarton College. From 1971-87, he had a long and distinguished career as Professor of Systematic Theology at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.  In recognition of his theological expertise he was awarded the coveted Master of Sacred Theology Degree (STM) by the Master of the Order. Afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease he spent his remaining years at Carroll Manor in Washington. It was here that he died.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Chapel in the Priory of the Immaculate Conception (The Dominican House of Studies) with interment in the Dominican Friars’ Plot of Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Washington.

Fr. Hill’s achievements were many. He was editor-in-chief of The Thomist (1975-83), and he served on the editorial boards of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Communio, and Listening. He was President of the Catholic Theological Society of America (1979-80). He was awarded the John Courtney Murray Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theology in 1983. Within the province, he served as Assistant Master of Students (1958-65), Vice Regent of Studies (1966-70), member of the provincial council (1972-76), and delegate to the General Chapter of the Order at Naples, Italy (1974).

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