Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Father Robert L. Bireley, SJ, who died on March 14, 2018, at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 84 years old. May he rest in peace.
Bob was born on July 26, 1933 in Evanston, Illinois. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on August 8, 1951 at Milford, Ohio. Bob was ordained on August 28, 1964 in Frankfurt, Germany. He pronounced final vows on August 15, 1974 at Loyola University Chicago, in Chicago, Illinois.
Before entering the Society, Bob graduated from Loyola Academy. As a Jesuit he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Latin (1956) and a Master's Degree in History (1963) from Loyola University Chicago. Bob earned a Licentiate in Philosophy from West Baden College in Indiana (1958) and a Licentiate in Theology from Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany (1965). In 1972, Bob earned his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.
During regency, Bob taught history at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland (1958-1961). After earning his doctorate, Bob began working at Loyola University Chicago, where he taught for over 45 years. In addition to teaching many students, Bob wrote many well-researched books and articles, and served on editorial boards and executive committees. From 1992-1998, Bob was superior of the former Ignatius House Jesuit Community (which was located next to St. Ignatius Parish). He moved to St. Camillus in January of 2017 to care for his health.
Bob was a faithful Jesuit whose life was grounded in his prayerful love of the Lord; he lived the vows with great integrity; he integrated well the intellectual apostolate of the Church through his scholarship, research, and teaching, alongside his love of the priesthood, celebration of the sacraments, and preaching. Bob enjoyed and invested in community life. He loved a lively discussion around the dinner table and while strong in his opinions was always eager to listen to those of others as well. There was always another project to consider or book to review or article to be written as well as another homily to prepare. At the same time, he enjoyed music and sports and beginning his day with the Sun Times. Bob lived his vocation with great balance, great passion and a welcoming smile.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated for Bob early next week at St. Camillus Jesuit Community.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Bob in Chicago on a date to be determined.
Bob will be buried in Chicago.
The dates and times for these Masses and burial will be forthcoming.
St. Camillus Jesuit Community
10201 W. Bluemound Rd
Wauwatosa, WI 53226