David Fleming, S.J., a former member of the theology faculty at Saint Louis University, died Tuesday, March 22. He was 76.
|David L. Fleming, S.J.|
A Jesuit for 58 years, Father Fleming was born in St. Louis, Mo., July 4, 1934. He entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., Aug. 8, 1952, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 9, 1965, at St. Mary's College in Kansas.
After tertianship at St. Beuno's College in Wales, Father Fleming completed a doctorate in sacred theology at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He joined the theology faculty at the former School of Divinity at Saint Louis University in 1970 and was appointed rector of the theologian community at Lewis Memorial in 1972.
With the closing of the School of Divinity in 1976, he was assigned to the newly formed Ministry Training Services (MTS) on the campus of Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colo., where he was appointed a member of the MTS staff, the superior of the Jesuit community and the tertian director for the province.
In 1978, Father Fleming was elected as the Missouri Province delegate to the Congregation of Procurators in Rome. The following year, he was appointed Provincial of the Missouri Province. Father Fleming often said that he truly enjoyed his ministry as Provincial, a ministry that was a great blessing for both him and the men he served.
Father. Fleming was appointed to the faculty at Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., in 1986. Two years later he returned to the Missouri province to become the editor of Review for Religious, a position he held for more than 22 years. Under his guidance, the journal provided thoughtful reflections on contemporary religious life to readers throughout the world.
He was a well-known author and speaker on Ignatian spirituality. His writings include Draw Me into Your Friendship: A Literal Translation and a Contemporary Reading of the Spiritual Exercises and What is Ignatian Spirituality? Father Fleming also compiled and edited a series of books from articles published in Review for Religious.
In 1990, Father Fleming was named rector of Bellarmine House of Studies for Jesuits studying philosophy and theology at SLU, a position he held for six years. From 2003 to 2008 he served as the assistant to the Missouri Provincial for Formation.
Among his friends and colleagues, Father. Fleming was held in high esteem for his spirituality, intellect and wisdom.
J. J. Mueller, S.J., associate professor of theological studies, said he was an outstanding teacher, great spiritual director and a person who truly understood the teachings of St. Ignatius.
"He was always a person who had the heart of Ignatius," Mueller said.
Chaplain Mary Flick of the University's department of mission and ministry, was a student of Father Fleming and also served on many projects with him over the years. She considered him the quintessential Jesuit.
"He was a servant priest, an extraordinary homilist and a colleague and friend to so many," Flick said.
In 2008, Father Fleming became the superior of the Ignatius House Community in St. Louis where he served until his death.
Father Fleming is survived by his sisters, Marian Shaughnessy and.Jean Feldmeier.
Vistation will be held from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at St. Francis Xavier College Church. A funeral Mass will follow at 7:30 p.m. Burial will take place Friday, March 25, at Calvary Cemetery with departure from the College Church at 9 a.m.