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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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in memoriam

Father William Tracy, C.Ss.R., dies at 88

By Dirson Gonçalves, C.Ss.R., Provincial Secretary; translated by Father Karl Esker, C.Ss.R.

Redemptorist missionary Father William (Bill) Tracy died in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, on April 12, 2018. He was born in the United States on June 5, 1929. As a young man he entered the Redemptorist seminary of the Baltimore Province. He made his first profession of vows on August 2, 1950, and was ordained a priest on June 19, 1955.

He lived almost 89 years—68 as a professed Redemptorist and 63 as a priest. He went to Brazil approximately half a century ago and lived there working as a missionary in many capacities: on the popular missions, in parishes, and as Novice Master in the formation of young Redemptorists. But there came a time in his life when Father Tracy was surprised by the problem of alcoholism. He discovered he was an alcoholic and sought treatment. He went to the United States and entered a therapeutic community that helped him recover his sense of self and return to his activities, renewing each morning his commitment to be faithful, “just for today.”

On returning to Brazil, he decided to found a therapeutic community to take care of priests, religious, seminarians, and lay people who also were facing problems of alcoholism or drug addiction. In 1981 he founded the Community Vida Nova in Curitiba. For nearly 40 years the Community Vida Nova has cared for more than 800 priests coming from the most diverse regions of Brazil and from foreign countries. It has also welcomed dozens of religious sisters, seminarians, and lay people.

To helpunderstand the disease of alcoholism, Father Tracy, together with Sister Terezinha Dias, wrote a book called Meu pai bebia demais, hoje sou um adulto que sofre (“My father drank too much; today I am an adult who suffers”). This book was published by the Editora Santuário and has sold thousands of copies throughout Brazil.