CatholicPhilly.com reports that Father William E. Atkinson, a priest of the Order of St. Augustine who passed away in 2006 and is buried at Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, is going through the canonization process to potentially be named a saint.
While an Augustinian novice and 19-years old, Atkinson was paralyzed in a toboggan accident. From the article:
As family members gathered at his hospital bedside, novice director Father William Krupa received his profession of vows, later noting the future Father Atkinson “never uttered a single word of complaint or self-pity” despite great pain and “frightful bed sores” that developed during six weeks of traction.
Mullen recalled that her brother did initially ask “why me?” but then accepted his disabilities.
“It was like, ‘This is what I have to do, and this is what I’m going to do,’” she said. “He got through it and I think it just made him a better person. He was never pompous, just a regular guy and the same brother I had before. I don’t know how to explain it.”
Father Atkinson was the first quadriplegic ordained as a Catholic priest and was a longtime time faculty member at Monsignor Bonner High School in Upper Darby.
Archbishop Charles Chaput initiated the canonization process in 2015. For the past six years, the Archdiocese has investigated the matter and is set to make a presentation to Augustinian officials in October of this year. Current Archbishop Nelson Perez will then send the documents to the Vatican, where the canonization process will continue and a final determination will be made.
You can read the full article here. You can view a documentary about Father Atkinson below.
Photo: Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic HS