His whole life, Msgr. William Shannon fed his thirst for knowledge by teaching and learning.
Shannon, a priest of the diocese of Rochester, N.Y., a religious studies professor and a well-known Thomas Merton scholar, died April 29 at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester motherhouse. He was 94.
"Bill saw his life as a series of conversions," said Christine Bochen, a professor at Nazareth College in Pittsford, N.Y., and a colleague of Shannon's when he taught there. His last book, How to Become a Christian Even If You Already Are One, explored those conversions.
Bochen described his "profound gift of presence," which didn't include just his memorable laugh. It was his ability to "truly listen to people, to empathize with where they were, to be interested in their questions and their concerns," she said.
William H. Shannon was born Dec. 6, 1917. He was ordained on June 5, 1943, and was named a monsignor in 1966. He was assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral from 1943-45. In 1946, he was appointed professor of religion at Nazareth College and was named a full professor in 1958.