Theologian, lecturer, writer; b. Chicago, Ill., July 21, 1902; d. River Forest, Ill., Nov. 23, 1951. Following his education in Chicago at parochial schools and at Quigley Preparatory Seminary, he entered the Dominican Order at Saint Joseph's Priory, Somerset, Ohio, on Sept. 14, 1920. He studied philosophy at St. Rose Priory, Springfield, Ky., and theology at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., where he was ordained on June 9, 1927. After obtaining the S.T.Lr. degree in 1928, he pursued graduate studies at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, from which he received his S.T.D. in 1930. After returning to the U.S., he was professor of dogmatic theology at Somerset until 1933, when he was transferred to the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C. He was appointed regent of studies of the Province of St. Joseph in 1939; the following year he went to Rome and, after a lengthy examination in theology, won the degree of master in sacred theology, the highest honor granted by the Dominican Order. That same year, he was named president of the pontifical faculty of theology at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C. During World War II, Farrell was a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, serving over a year on the carrier U.S.S. Yorktown. Upon leaving the service in 1945, he was assigned to the Dominican House of Studies, River Forest, in the Province of St. Albert the Great. Farrell, an active retreat-master and preacher, was also one of the first lecturers in the Thomist Association, which provided courses in theology for the laity. He helped to launch the Thomist, a quarterly speculative review, in April 1939, and contributed frequently to it and to other leading Catholic journals. His best known work was A Companion to the Summa, the four volumes of which were published from 1938 to 1942. After his death, his nearly completed life of Christ, together with selections from his earlier writings, was published under the title of Only Son (1953).
Bibliography: r. e. brennan, "Walter Farrell, O.P., Apud Posteros Sacer," The Thomist (1952) 199–208. r. m. coffey, "The Very Reverend Walter Farrell, O.P., S.T.M.," American Ecclesiastical Review 126 (1952) 271–278.
[t. c. donlan]