William O'Raw was born on 20th August 1876 at Main Street in Kilsyth. He was
educated at Blairs Seminary in Aberdeen and the Petit Seminaire
de Notre Dame des Champs in Paris from 1893 till 1895. He then
continued his studies at the Scots College in Rome 1895 until
1900 where he was ordained at the end of his studies.
On returning to Scotland in 1900 he was posted to Edinburgh
Cathedral for 2 years until 1902. He was then sent to the Parish
of Ss John Cantius and Nicholas in Broxburn where he served
as assistant Priest from 1902 until 1904. St Patrick's Lochgelly
was to be his last recorded Parish placement where he served
again as assistant Priest from 1904 til 1905.
There are no further entries in the Catholic Directory for
Scotland regarding Fr O'Raw after this date. It is clear that
at some point after 1905 Fr O'Raw left the Priesthood. Tragically
he died at the age of only 36 on the 24th January 1913 in Glasgow
whilst living at the Hotel Cecil and listing his occupation
Below is an article that was published in the Kilsyth Chronicle
regarding the death of Fr O'Raw's father Richard O'Raw in Kilsyth.
“Death of Mr Richard O’Raw, Kilsyth.
This well known inhabitant of Kilsyth passed away on Sunday
morning. He had not enjoyed robust health for some time, but
his death, somewhat sudden, was due to paralytic shock. A native
of Donegal, Mr O’Raw came to Kilsyth about 40 years ago.
For some time he found employment in the mines. About a quarter
of a century ago, Mr O’Raw began a business as a pawnbroker
and continued that until the end. Outside his own business he
was well known for the interest he took in the poor. Perhaps
no-one knew better the difficulties of the poor and certainly
he was ever ready to do whatever lay in his powers to help them.
That knowledge and willingness to help were of great service
in the Parochial Board and Parish Council, in the business of
which the deceased took a quiet but most useful part. The same
kindly spirit induced Mr O’Raw to efficiently act as President
of the ‘St Vincent de Paul Society’ for the Relief
of poor Roman Catholics.
An attached member of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church,
Mr O’Raw was always generous in his support of the schemes
of the Church, and bore a leading share in enlarging the church
five years ago, and raising funds to meet the cost. His kindly
smile and genial wit made him a favourite in social circles.
He is survived by three daughters and three sons, one of the
latter being Fr William O’Raw, who is attached to the
The funeral of the deceased on Tuesday was largely attended,
members past and present of the Parish Council turning out in
a body to show their respect for one who was so long a colleague.
The impressive service in St Patrick’s Chapel and at the
grave in Kilsyth cemetery was conducted by the Very Rev Canon
Turner, assisted by Father William O’Raw.”
Kilsyth Chronicle 1903. Exact date of issue not known
but in the Jan – March 1903 catalogue.