Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Father Francis P. Chamberlain, SJ, who died of cancer at 10:00 a.m. on April 29, 2018, in Lima, Peru. Frank was surrounded by friends when he died in the Casa "Nuestra Senora de Fatima" in Miraflores, Lima. He was 81 years old. May he rest in peace.
Frank was the younger brother of the late Fr. Henry ("Hank") T. Chamberlain, SJ.
Frank was born on March 15, 1937 in Chicago, Ill. After graduating from Loyola Academy, he entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on September 1, 1955 at Milford, Ohio. Frank was ordained on June 28, 1968, and pronounced final vows on August 15, 1973. He transcribed to the Peru Province in 1985.
Frank moved to Peru in 1962, fell in love with the people of Peru, and stayed among them the rest of his life. For Regency, he taught in Arequipa from 1963 to 1965. After Ordination, Frank worked in only three places: Ilo for close to eight years, El Agustino for 28 years, and finally in Ayacucho for more than 10 years. Frank was a beloved pastor and friend. He also worked with Christian Life Communities where good people, committed in their daily lives, take the Gospel as their guide and pray and support one another.
In addition to his pastoral work, Frank was involved in efforts to help those affected by the "Shining Path" in the 1980s and 1990s. He was involved with the Matteo Ricci House which is a place where the 26 groups (who came to the capital city to avoid the war in the 80s and 90s) meet once a week to get the reparations they justly need for having to leave everything they had to save their families from the killing. He was also a member of a group of people trying to establish a national memorial sanctuary to keep in memory the horrors of this internal war. The group's hope is to have an army barracks on the outskirts of the city converted into a sanctuary, a place of memory so that what happened during the war never happens again.
Frank was involved in efforts to help the poor and needy of Peru through the regional "Roundtable in the struggle for consensus between the regional government here and its citizenry in the fight against poverty". [Frank stated this about the title: That is a mouthful I know, the Spanish version comes off a wee bit better, but not much.] The Roundtable is a commission which encourages the base or grass-roots organizations in the region, city, town, and campesino organizations to engage the local politicians to make changes. Two areas of concern for the Roundtable (and Frank) were the condition of public health and public education in the Ayacucho region.
Frank was beloved in Peru by Jesuits, the poor he served with great love and dedication, and the professionals he accompanied and inspired. His service of the poor and work for justice was inspired by his profound faith. Many state that Frank was one of the finest Jesuits they have known.