Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Jesuit Exorcism Expert

The Rev. Francis X. Cleary was 20 years old and about to enter the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant when Jesuits performed an exorcism on a 14-year-old boy in the old psychiatric wing of Alexian Brothers Hospital on south Broadway. The event would become the basis for William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel "The Exorcist" and the hit movie that followed. It also would remain a fascination for Father Cleary, who later in life became an unofficial historian of the event; the go-to Jesuit on all matters "Exorcist," both real and fabled. Father Cleary, who was ordained in 1963 and became a renowned biblical scholar at St. Louis University, died Wednesday (Dec. 8, 2010) of infirmities at Jesuit Hall at SLU. He was 81. In the years immediately after the Second Vatican Council, Father Cleary was a graduate student in Rome, studying sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and later earning his doctorate in sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian Institute. Vatican II opened up the Catholic liturgy to the vernacular, and Father Cleary took advantage of his proximity to that historic change in Catholic life by studying how to communicate the Bible to lay people.
Link (here) to read the full article at Stltoday
Rev. William Bowdern

1 comment:

Susana Reynolds said...

I still live near the Alexian Brothers Hospital and in the 70's before the old wing where the exersist took place was torn down had visited a friend whom was hospitalized,. The experience back then haunts me to this day and even in the new addition something is felt to me... a memory I'll never forget