Edward O'Brien, S.J. (Grad '54, '57, '62), a former vice president for mission and ministry at Saint Louis University and minister to the Jesuit community at SLU died Tuesday, March 1, 2011. He was 83 years old and was Jesuit for 63 years.
Father O'Brien served as SLU's vice president for mission and ministry from 2001-2003. Prior to that, he was the minister of the Jesuit community at SLU, dedicating eight years of his life to the care of the more than 90 Jesuits who called Jesuit Hall home.
|Edward O'Brien, S.J.|
"Ed's deep and abiding faith made him the ideal person to oversee mission and ministry at Saint Louis University," said University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J. "He was a good friend to me and many others at SLU, especially in our Jesuit community. Truly, he will be missed, but his life and vocation will continue to inspire."
Born April 18, 1927, in St. Louis, Father O'Brien entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., on Aug. 8, 1947. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 15, 1961, at St. Mary's College in Kansas. He earned various academic degrees from Gonzaga University and SLU.
After tertianship and a year of study in pastoral theology in Brussels, Belgium, Father O'Brien began a nine-year assignment as a teacher of theology at Saint Louis University High School. He was widely recognized as an exceptional teacher.
Beginning in 1970, he served for three years as a member of the executive committee of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association and chair of the Commission on Religious Education.
In 1973, Father O'Brien was named the master of novices for the Jesuits of the Missouri Province, first in Kansas City, Mo., and then in Denver. He was noted for his insights into faith and religious life.
In 1982, after his work in the novitiate, he joined the staff of the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Karen, Kenya, where he served for three years before returning to the Missouri Province as the rector of the Bellarmine House of Studies and the Fusz Pavilion.
Following his work in formation, Father O'Brien continued to be available for important service in the province. After a year on the staff of the White House Retreat, a Jesuit retreat center in south St. Louis County, he was named pastor and community superior at St. Matthew Church in St. Louis.
During the next five years, parishioners developed a great affection for Father O'Brien, connecting with his spirituality and commitment to his community.
Father O'Brien returned to the White House Retreat for a brief period of time before being named the minister of the Jesuit Hall in 1995. In 2001, he was named vice president for mission and ministry at SLU and served as member of SLU's Board of Trustees.
In 2003, he returned to the White House Retreat where he continued to serve as a retreat director until his death. Those who lived and worked with Father O'Brien remember him fondly.
"Ed was a wonderful, wonderful person," said Jim Burshek, S.J., a member of SLU's Board of Trustees and director of White House Retreat. "He wanted two things toward the end of his life: Not to be a 'patient' for too long and to die in a Jesuit community. The good Lord granted him both of these wishes."
Father O'Brien donated his body to science.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 7, at St. Francis Xavier College Church.
Father O'Brien is survived by his brother, Jerome O'Brien, and by his sisters, Mary O'Brien and Margaret Rietman.
Letters of condolence may be sent to the following:
White House Retreat Jesuit Community
7410 Christopher Drive
St. Louis, Mo. 63129
728 Kingswood Drive
Evansville, Ind. 47715