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Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Joseph T. Brennan, SJ, who died on October 17, 2015, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. He was 79 years old, a Jesuit for 58 years, and a priest for 46 years.
Joe was born in Rochester, N.Y. on October 10, 1936. He grew up in the Chicago area and attended the University of Notre Dame, remaining a strong supporter of the "Fighting Irish" for the rest of his life. Joe entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on September 1, 1957, at Milford, Ohio. He was ordained a priest on May 29, 1969, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Aurora, Ill., and professed final vows on September 17, 1983, at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As a Jesuit, Joe earned a bachelor's in Latin (1961) and master's in English (1966) from Loyola University Chicago. He earned a Licentiate in Philosophy from West Baden College in Indiana (1963) and a Master of Divinity from Bellarmine School of Theology in North Aurora, Ill. (1970).
Joe spent most of his Jesuit life counseling students, obtaining a Master of Education in Counseling from Xavier University in Cincinnati. During his regency, he taught Latin and English at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill. (1963-1966), and after his ordination, he spent nearly 20 years at St. Xavier High School. In addition to student counseling, he was a teacher (1971-1983) and director of the guidance department (1983-1989). He also served as rector (1983-1989). In 1990, after a
sabbatical at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., Joe moved to Chicago, where he counseled students and worked as a faculty chaplain, sacramental minister, and rector at Saint Ignatius College Prep. Joe also served as a Chicago Province Consultor (1986-1992). He moved to
Colombiere Center in 2010 to care for his health.
Joe was very well respected for his friendships and collaboration with his lay coworkers. He was a valued colleague, pastor, and friend to many women and men at both St. Xavier High School and Saint Ignatius College Prep. Joe was instrumental in founding the Chicago Province high school "PPR," the group of presidents, principals, and rectors that developed strategies for integrating Jesuit ethos within school policies and curriculum. While rector at St. Xavier, Joe developed the first province high school "Sustaining Agreement," which articulated points of collaboration among the school's Board of Trustees, its Jesuit community, and the province. He helped develop a similar document during his years as rector of Saint Ignatius.