Robert W. Dundon
Fr. Robert W. Dundon, SJ
Bob was very much a missionary Jesuit, devoting most of his life to teaching and pastoral service in Africa.
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Robert W. Dundon

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Robert (Bob) W. Dundon, SJ, who died on March 9, 2016, at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wis. He was 83 years old, a Jesuit for 63 years, and a priest for 46 years.

Born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1932, Bob attended grade school and high school in Iron Mountain, Mich. After high school, he spent a year at the Michigan College of Mining and Technology in Houghton and another year at St. Lawrence College in Mount Calvary, Wis. Bob entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., on August 17, 1952. After pronouncing first vows, he spent a year teaching at Red Cloud Indian School, before following the usual course of studies at St. Stanislaus Seminary and Saint Louis University. Bob earned a PhD in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore during his regency. He studied theology at Woodstock College in Maryland and was ordained a priest on June 4, 1969. He did his tertianship in St. Paul, Minn., from 1972 to 1973. Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, received Bob’s final vows in Lagos, Nigeria, on May 3, 1977.

Bob was a chemistry teacher who was always pastorally involved wherever he served, which was primarily in Nigeria. Following his ordination, he taught chemistry at Marquette University in Milwaukee for several years, but in 1973, he began his long love affair with Africa, moving to Benin City, Nigeria, where he taught chemistry and served as a chaplain at the University of Benin for the next 16 years. Bob taught chemistry at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, from 1990 to 1992, before returning to Nigeria for another five years as a university pastor in Benin City. From 1997 to 2003, he taught the philosophy of science to young African Jesuits at Arrupe College in Harare, Zimbabwe. After three years as pastor of St. Benedict the Moor Parish in Omaha, Bob returned to Nigeria, where he served as a pastor in several Jesuit parishes from 2006 to 2014. In 2009, he was officially transcribed to the North-West Africa Province. Declining health led him to return to the Wisconsin Province in 2014, and he became a very active member of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community until his death.

Bob was very much a missionary Jesuit, devoting most of his life to teaching and pastoral service in Africa. As a Jesuit scientist, he was concerned with relating Christian faith to the pressing issues raised by contemporary scientific research. He had wonderful insights and loved living and working with other Jesuits and growing close to the students he served in Africa.  Bob lived simply and dealt easily with a broad variety of people. He was a kind and gentle person.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 
5:30 p.m. 
San Camillo Chapel 
10200 W. Bluemound Rd. 
Wauwatosa, WI

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 
7 p.m. 
San Camillo Chapel 
10200 W. Bluemound Rd. 
Wauwatosa, WI

In Memoriam
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March 15, 20162:55 AM
I normally do not write memoirs for people who pass on but not for our beloved Fr Bob who to me was an epitome of Jesus.I saw so much of Jesus in and about him. He is not dead. He is still living. Father cannot die. Father Bob loves God and had such an infectious love and compassion for souls. He demonstrated his deep hatred for sin when i went for confessions on campus. What more? Fr cared , just like Mother Theresa. A dedicated Catholic priest. In fact when you see him you want to be like him. At a very trying time in preparation for my marriage, Fr stood by my husband and i when we were being persecuted and threatened not to be wedded. He suffered many things because of his spiritual children here in Nigeria and God Himself , for the sake of the poor whom he loved and protected did not forsake him. I wished he could stay a bit longer and looked forward to when i will see him and sing one of those songs he taught us at the Life in the Spirit Seminar "'Yahweh i Know You are near, standing always by my side, You guard me from the foe and You lead me in ways everlasting. ...... (Psalm 139)" Now when i pass by Fr Dundon house at Uniben i remember every thing he stood for- righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost and i am encouraged to keep at it looking forward to laying my own trophies at Our Saviour's feet. Good night Fr. Emuobo – Emuobonuvie Maria Ajiboye (nee Inisiagho)

March 15, 20163:45 PM
Fr. Dundon taught me Chemistry in my first year at the University of Benin. I remember him as a selfless and humble man. He was also a priest who was always available to administer the sacraments especially of Penance. May his soul rest in peace! – Anonymous

March 18, 20169:33 PM
I have wonderful and warm memories of Bob from our time together in theology at Woodstock. Well done, good and faithful one. – Robert W. Dahlke, S.J.

March 25, 20167:03 AM
Fr Dundon, was a truly charismatic father. He loved to sing. I have fond memories of him. I first met him when he used to come and officiate mass in my secondary school in Benin city, Nigeria. But the memories of him that stand out strong for me are the ones of when I was an undergraduate at University of Benin, Nigeria. He was truly a very loving and accommodating person. A spirit filled priest indeed! – Lilian Uwaeme

June 09, 20163:00 PM
Fr. Robert Bob W. Dundon, as specially called FR. BOB, is a man of great integrity, understandable, generous as well as kind-hearten, a priest to a call having a listening ear to all situation even in difficult time. Fr. Bob accommodates, he protects and saves life to his reach not counting the cost, a man for the people of God and His church, he loves and cares for the people of God and its environs. Fr. Bob Dundon is the reason why I am still living, at difficult cases he gave me hope, courage and ability to withstood at the period. He restored my misery to hope and life giving spirit and host of others, while he was alive even living in the spirit of God the father. In all Fr. Robert Bob Dundon is a SAINT IN MAKING- tasted and trusted. – Emetuka Nnamdi John

September 28, 20166:05 PM
Father Dundon taught me chemistry at the University of Benin, Benin City Nigeria. He was a dedicated teacher and committed priest. May his gentle soul rest in the bosom of the Lord. Amen – Dr. Oliver Ezechi

February 21, 201811:03 PM
I lived in the same community with Fr. Bob Dundon in Arrupe college from 2001- 2003. we carried out weekend workshops on HIV/AIDS with students in a girls school. He was a very spiritual man, gentle, humble, good sense of humor and very compassionate. May his soul rest in eternal peace! – Anonymous

January 15, 201911:29 AM
Robert Dundon, as parish priest of the Catholic church at the University of Benin in the 80s and 90s, built a powerful library of sophisticated theological and other texts in the priest's house near the church, a house where students flowed into and out at will, a library for use by students and other members of the university who could even borrow the books, the house existing more as a communal space jointly owned by anyone who chose to identify with the Christian community represented by the church and parish and the priest himself. Dundon eventually left. Others took charge. The library was now out of bounds to non-priests. The priest's house now became a place where the priests existed in distance from others, no free access as before. It might not be out of place that Dundon was Caucasian, those who replaced him Nigerians. I am not able to adequately explain why, now, though. Today, editing an essay in which I correlate the Yoruba concept of awo with the Christian concept of mystery particularly as depicted by Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, an exposition I encountered in an interview of Rahner I first saw in Dundon's house as he was assembling the books for the library, now published online, I recalled Dundon. " Interviewer: So you look on theology, in fact, as "systematic" but not as a final system? Father Rahner: No, no, no! One should never stop thinking too early. The true system of thought really is the knowledge that humanity is finally directed precisely not toward what it can control in knowledge but toward the absolute mystery as such; that mystery is not just an unfortunate remainder of what is not yet known but rather the blessed goal of knowledge which comes to itself when it is with the incomprehensible One, and not in any other way. With other words, then, the system is the system of what cannot be systematized". I have always carried with me that vision of free provision of exposure to the most profound, most sophisticated forms of knowledge, in spaces where people may come and go as they wish and have tried realizing it in different contexts and have to some degree succeeded. A true Christian, a self abnegating keeper of people, true scion of Ignatius of Loyola founder of the Jesuits, dedicate of knowledge, was Father Dundon. There is an urgent need for easy access to sophisticated Christian theological texts, ideally in libraries dedicated to such texts, in addition to contexts where they are not too challenging to buy. Such access empowers Christians and others in better understanding the historical and ideational scope of the faith and its points of intersection with other spiritualities. – Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju

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