Wind Beneath Their Wings: Looking Back at Rev. Maurice F. Reidy, S.J.

Catalyst for the Flying Club, patron of Crusader sports, and history enthusiast: All these roles apply to the late Rev. Maurice F. Reidy, S.J. Arriving on the Hill in 1950 to teach history, Fr. Reidy made numerous contributions to the College and its students

Kristen Rooney ’09

Fr. Reidy graduated from Worcester’s North High School, and went on to Georgetown University in 1931. After teaching philosophy studies and theology studies at Weston College and history at Boston College, he was ordained as a priest in 1944, and received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University in 1952. Specializing in English Legal and Tudor-Stuart history, Fr. Reidy authored a study of Bishop Lancelot Andrews (Loyola University Press) in 1955. Father Reidy’s academic memberships included the American Historical Association, the American Catholic History Association and the American Jesuit Historical Conference. From 1962 to 1966, he held the distinguished position of Dean of the College, and from 1962 to 1971, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of Holy Cross, serving as its secretary from 1969 to 1971.

Known for his support of Holy Cross athletics, Fr. Reidy is credited for the fervent effort that was pivotal in getting lacrosse recognized as an official varsity sport at the College. He was also instrumental in organizing the first New England All-Star game at Fitton Field in 1960. Fr. Reidy’s student mentoring expanded outside the ball fields as well. He acted as faculty advisor to the nascent Holy Cross Flying Club from 1966 to 1975. His enjoyment advising this club motivated him to acquire his pilot’s license, and he began serving as the chaplain for the Worcester Squadron of Civilian Air Patrol in 1977. 

Fr. Reidy is also credited with his skill and dedication for tutoring the Holy Cross kickers. Record-breaking kicker Jerry Kelley ’76 recalled meeting Fr. Reidy when he was just a 10-year-old squirt who came to kick the ball around on the practice fields. In a 1981 interview, Kelley said, “Fr. Reidy came up and started showing me a few things on how to kick the football. He seemed genuinely interested in helping [me] and I owe a great deal to him.” Kelley came to the College after his impromptu “coach” assisted him in getting some scholarship help. “The thing I remember most about him,” Kelley continued, “was he was someone I could talk to about things other than football.  He was willing to give up his time to help you. You don’t meet many people like him too often.” Indeed, Fr. Reidy was exceptional, being inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Holy Cross College Varsity on May 17, 1981. Passing away later that year, Fr. Reidy left behind a vast legacy, proving that he was certainly the wind beneath the wings of many at Holy Cross.