Biographies

Father Lawrence A. Conley, MM

Born: February 27, 1908
Ordained: June 16, 1940
Died: November 29, 1947

Lawrence A. Conley was born in South Boston on February 27, 1908, the third youngest in a family of ten children. A graduate of Dorchester High School, Larry was a sports medalist. The call to the missions first came to him through the inspiring sermon of an Australian missioner, heard while he was visiting Los Angeles in 1928. Encouraged toward Maryknoll by a priest he knew in his home parish, he entered the Venard in 1929.

Father Conley was ordained on June 16, 1940 by Bishop James E. Walsh. He departed that summer for Kongmoon. Upon completion of his language course at Hong Kong he was assigned to Kochow as assistant. He served in a similar capacity at Hoingan and Lungwoh. Transferred to Toishan City during the war, he headed the Refugee Committee of that area. His principal work there was the establishment of a home for refugee boys, a project which fulfilled a very desperate need in Toishan during those years.

It was in carrying out of relief that the accident occurred which led to his death. His condition remained critical through the following day and by the morning of November 29 Father Conley knew he was dying. Father Weber arrived from Sunchong to administer the Last Rites.

During his final hours the young missioner committed to the Sisters a message for his mother, saying that he had always tried to follow her advice to be kind to people at all times and that he hoped he had lived up to her expectations. The end came on November 29, 1947, just as the Sisters were finishing the Litany which concluded the prayers for the dying.

On December 2, as the Chinese papers of Toishan were publishing elaborate eulogies of the American priest who had so generously come to the aid of their poor, Father Conley’s body was carried from the mission chapel to the hilltop overlooking the city and laid to rest amid great honor by the Chinese.