William Lawrence Adrian

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The Most Reverend
William L. Adrian, STL, DD
Bishop of Nashville
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Nashville
In office February 2, 1936—September 4, 1969
Predecessor Alphonse John Smith
Successor Joseph Aloysius Durick
Ordination April 15, 1911
Consecration April 16, 1936
by Amleto Giovanni Cicognani
Personal details
Born (1883-04-16)April 16, 1883
Sigourney, Iowa
Died February 13, 1972(1972-02-13) (aged 88)
Nashville, Tennessee

William Lawrence Adrian, STL, DD (April 16, 1883 – February 13, 1972) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee from 1936 to 1969.


William Adrian was born in Sigourney, Iowa, to Nicholas and Mary (Paulus) Adrian. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa in 1906. He studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and was there ordained to the priesthood on April 15, 1911. Following his return to the United States, he served as a professor at St. Ambrose College for twenty-four years and as its vice president from 1932 to 1935; Adrian also coached American football and baseball, and taught Latin and manual training. He then became pastor of St. Bridget's Parish in Victor, Iowa in 1935.

On February 2, 1936, Adrian was appointed the seventh Bishop of Nashville by Pope Pius XII. He learned of his appointment by a letter from the Holy See: "among [his] letters...With trembling fingers [he] opened it and read...and was so overwhelmed with wonder that [he] could read no farther."[1] Adrian received his episcopal consecration on the following April 16 from Archbishop Amelto Cicognani at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. Bishops Henry Rohlman of Davenport and Moses E. Kiley of Trenton served as co-consecrators.[2]

The Bishop, who became known as a "man who gets things done," oversaw the creation of several parishes, acquisition of a new episcopal residence in East Nashville, remodeling of the Cathedral, and establishment of a diocesan newspaper and the National Council of Catholic Women. He attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, and retired as Nashville's ordinary on September 4, 1969, after thirty-three years of service. He was also named titular bishop of Elo on that same date, resigning the post on January 13, 1971.

Adrian later died at the age of 88.


  1. ^ TIME Magazine. More Bishops May 4, 1936.
  2. ^ "Bishop William Lawrence Adrian". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Alphonse John Smith
Bishop of Nashville 1936-1969 Succeeded by
Joseph Aloysius Durick