Father Denis E. Daly, SJ, died Easter Sunday, March 27, in St. Louis. He was 85 years old, a Jesuit for 63 years and a priest for 51 years. A memorial Mass will be held at St. Francis Xavier College Church at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 11, 2016. Fr. Daly donated his body to the St. Louis University Medical School.
Born May 31, 1930 in Casper, Wyo. to Denis J. Daly and Josephine Mahoney Daly, he is survived by his sister, Mrs. Jo Anne Kolasinski as well as by nieces Barbara Kaye, Honora Mead, and Ann Perry and nephews John Whitaker and Terrance Whitaker.
He attended Regis University in Denver, Col., earning his Bachelor of Arts in 1952 and entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary, Florissant, Mo. on August 8, 1952. He earned both a licentiate in philosophy and a Master of Arts in English from Saint Louis University.
His first assignment as a Jesuit was at St. Louis University High School (1959-61), where he taught English. After studying theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, KS, he was ordained on June 16, 1964.
His initial assignment after completing his licentiate in sacred theology was as director of the Sacred Heart Program, a radio program operated by the Jesuits, a post he held for 15 years. During that time he worked hard to put the program on a sound financial footing, while maintaining its roots in prayer and sound popular devotion. His ingenuity and pragmatism brought freshness to the program, which had been on the air for nearly 30 years by that time. He committed himself to help engender a larger vision of Catholic broadcasting and to create programs that were deeply rooted in the real needs of people in their struggle to learn and live the Gospel.
In 1982, he became director and superior at White House Retreat, where he continued and deepened its most successful elements while fostering openness, making Jesuits welcome as directors and retreatants and encouraging lay people to take greater responsibility. He remained at White House until 1991.
After a year’s sabbatical at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, he came back to St. Louis, serving Saint Louis University in various capacities: assistant director of admissions (1992-94), coordinator of the Ignatian Service Scholars Program (1994-97), assistant vice-president for Mission and Ministry at the Health Sciences Center (1997-2001), and assistant vice-president for development.
As Fr. Kolvenbach noted on the occasion of Fr. Daly’s 50th anniversary as a Jesuit, “you have been a powerful communicator of faith, truth, and love—both to your brother Jesuits and to countless thousands of God’s people.”
Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or online at www.jesuitscentralsouthern.org.