1905 – 1988 (March 31)
Edward James Carney was born to James Carney and Catherine Malloy in Everett, Massachusetts, on September 7, 1905. He had two brothers and two sisters. Baptized in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Everett, his early education was in the local grammar and junior high schools. In September 1920, at the age of 14, Edward enrolled as a postulant at Villanova Preparatory School, Villanova, Pennsylvania. Following graduation in 1924 he began his novitiate year and professed simple vows on June 26, 1925. Three years later, in June, 1928, he professed solemn vows. Graduating that same year with a B.A. in philosophy, he began his theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1931 by Bishop Thomas Shahan at the National Shrine. While studying theology he also pursued a master's degree in biology during the summers at Villanova. Upon completion, he was selected to continue studies for a doctorate in the same field.
Father Carney's first assignment, in 1931, was to Villanova College where he was dormitory prefect, taught biology, coached the ice hockey team, and took degree courses. The following year he was transferred to Saint Rita Parish in Chicago, Illinois, as assistant pastor while continuing his degree work at the University of Chicago. Later, ill health compelled him to discontinue his degree studies. In 1935 he was assigned to the Augustinian Mission Band. While preaching in the East and Midwest, Father Carney resided at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, Bronx, and Our Lady of Good Counsel, Staten Island, as well as at Saint Matthew, Flint, Michigan and Saint Mary, Lawrence, Massachusetts. In this last location, he became assistant pastor while awaiting a response to his request to join the U.S. Navy as chaplain. Already a chaplain in the Naval Reserve, he was called to active duty in 1944 and assigned to a Naval OSS Unit, serving in both the South Pacific and Atlantic theaters. In 1946, Father Carney was honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and returned as assistant pastor to Saint Mary, Lawrence. In 1956 he was appointed pastor of that parish, began the construction of a new convent and purchased land for the enlargement of the parish cemetery. In 1962, he was assigned as pastor and prior of Saint Augustine, Lawrence, where he remained until 1968. In that year he was appointed to the Office of Director of Province Promotions, with headquarters at Villanova University and residence at Saint Denis Parish, Havertown, Pa. In 1971, he took up residence at Our Mother of Good Counsel Monastery, Merrimack College, North Andover, Mass. Except for a temporary assignment in 1973 to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, the Bronx, N.Y., he continued to reside at Merrimack after his retirement in 1982 until his death. in 1988.
Father Carney, known by the friars as "Woodsie", was gifted with a fine sense of humor and an ability to get things organized and completed. His opinions often blunt and to the point, were for the most part very practical. He died on March 31, 1988. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by the Prior Provincial at the Collegiate Church of Christ the Teacher on the campus of Merrimack College on April 4, 1988. Father Carney is buried in the Augustinian plot at Saint Mary's Cemetery, Lawrence, Mass.