Cullen, William J.Died
Fr. William J. Cullen, S ., 77, died at Campion Center in Weston on May 25, 2010. The only son of Joseph and Mary (Wilson) Cullen, he was born in East Cambridge and is survived by two sisters, Pauline Cullen of Palmer, MA, and Anne Wywoda of Milford, CT. After attending Matignon High School in Cambridge he graduated with high honors from Boston College in 1954 and then entered the Jesuit novitiate in Lenox, MA, and was a survivor of the devastating fire that destroyed that institution in 1956.
He did further studies at Wernersville, PA and at Weston (MA) College, then taught for two years at Boston College High School. He next earned a Master’s Degree at Harvard in a single year, then returned to Weston College to complete theology studies there in 1966. After a year of ascetical theology and pastoral ministry in Pomfret, CT he joined the faculty of the new Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, MA to teach history and sociology, and serve as chairman of the religion department there.
In 1975-76 he spent a sabbatical year at Heythrop College in England, then returned to Bishop Connolly to teach English and religion and serve as director of counseling education. He also entered on a new career as a teacher of dramatic arts and director of student plays. In a ten-year span his “Connolly Players” put on nineteen full-length plays and fifteen “festival” – or “competition” plays, and won numerous awards. He spent eleven years at Fairfield (CT) University in campus ministry and as assistant director of admissions.
Fr. Cullen had always been dedicated to young people and their education and general well-being. Accordingly he came to Boston in 1990 to serve as a teacher and director of academic programs in the New England Jesuits’ “Nativity School”, a very high-quality and low-cost middle school for disadvantaged boys from the inner city. Ten years later he travelled to Oakdale, CT at the request of a former colleague, to continue his work with young people as Chaplain at St. Thomas More School, and remained there until worsening health problems made it necessary for him to come to Campion Health Center.