Rev. Joseph Daniel Cassidy, O.P.


CUMBERLAND — Dominican Father Joseph Daniel Cassidy, 82, died on Palm Sunday, March 28, at Mount St. Rita Health Care Center.

A distinguished bioethicist, he was a member of the Order of Preachers (Dominican Friars) of the Eastern Province of St. Joseph and of the Dominican Community of St. Thomas Aquinas at Providence College.

Born Joseph Gerard Cassidy in Uxbridge, Mass., he was the son of the late Francis Blessing Cassidy and the late Mary Lucy (Anderson) Cassidy. He attended St. Mary’s Academy in Milford, Mass., and earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Providence College in 1948. He later studied at Clark University, Worcester, Mass (1948-1949); St. Rose Priory, Springfield, Ky. (1951-1952); St. Joseph Priory, Somerset, Ohio, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy in 1954; Immaculate Conception College, Washington, D.C. (1954-1958); Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (1957-1961); The Catholic University, Washington, D.C. (1957-1961); and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., where he received a Ph.D. in genetics in 1965.

In 1950, he entered the novitiate of the Dominican Friars at St. Stephen Priory, Dover, Mass., where he received the religious name Daniel. On August 11, 1951, he made his simple profession of vows there, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1957 at St. Dominic Church, Washington, D.C., by Bishop Phillip M. Hannan, then-auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington.

In 1965, Father Cassidy joined the faculty of Providence College as a member of the biology department, where he taught until 1969. After that assignment, his priestly, teaching, and research ministries took him to many institutions in the midwest, before he returned to Providence College in 1990 as a special lecturer in philosophy. He later served as an associate professor of humanities from 1992-1994, and continued to teach until recently as a part-time member of the philosophy department.

Father Cassidy was research director of the Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research and Education Center, Braintree, Mass. from 1988-1990 and continued as a consultant there until 1998. His professional memberships included the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (genetics researcher, 1959-1975; the Catholic Academy of Sciences in the United States of America; the U.S. Naval War College Foundation; and the Center for the Advanced Study of Ethics and the Center for Clinical Bioethics of Georgetown University. He wrote numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters in scholarly publications about genetics and bioethics.

He is survived by two brothers, Francis B. Cassidy Jr., of Uxbridge, Mass., and Edward R. Cassidy of Worcester, Mass.; and three sisters, Mary A. Cassidy of Whitinsville, Mass., Margaret Manship of Gloucester, Mass., and Clare T. Condon of Harrisville, R.I.

A Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated March 31 in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas, Providence College. Burial was in the Dominican Friars’ Cemetery on the college campus.