David C. Borbridge, SJ, died Feb. 20, 2017, in Palmetto La. He was 86 years old, a Jesuit for 67 years and a priest for 53 years.
He was remembered in a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, Feb. 25, at St. Charles College Chapel in Grand Coteau, La. He is buried at the Jesuit Cemetery at St. Charles College.
Born Jan. 31, 1931, he was the son of John Joseph and Anna McLaughlin Borbridge. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by all his siblings, brothers John Joseph, Jr., George Francis and Robert Borbridge and sister Dorothy Bird.
He attended Catholic schools in his native Philadelphia and in Tampa, Fla., where his family had moved. He graduated from Jesuit High School in Tampa in 1948 and studied at Loyola University in New Orleans for three semesters before entering the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) on Feb. 1, 1950 at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La.
He made first vows Feb. 2, 1952 and was ordained to the priesthood June 12, 1963, at Blessed Sacrament Church in Los Angeles.
He studied humanities in Grand Coteau and philosophy at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., earning a bachelor’s degree in history. He earned two master’s degrees, one in theology at Alma College in Los Gatos, Calif., and one in history from the University of California, Berkeley. He also held a doctorate in history from the University of California, Berkeley.
His field was Latin American history, and he wrote his dissertation on the Jesuits in Chile and their return in 1854 after the restoration of the Society.
As a young Jesuit in formation, he taught at Jesuit High in New Orleans and Colegio San Ignacio in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1956-1960. From 1972 to 1983, he taught at Strake Jesuit High School and Rice University in Houston while also serving as a chaplain at the county jail.
In the 1980s, he served as rector of the Spring Hill College Jesuit Community, and taught in the school’s theology and history departments.
In the 1990s, he taught at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He then returned to Spring Hill where he remained from 1997 to 2014, teaching in the theology and history departments.
He once wrote about what he saw as three priorities for the Church: dialogue with non-believers, a deeper understanding of other religious traditions, and the search for peace and justice, which he tried to live in his work with the international Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, and in his offer to work in El Salvador after the Jesuits there were slain in 1989.
He told his provincial once that he asked only one thing for an assignment, that the ministry require courage and humor.
In June of 2014, declining health required his move to St. Alphonsus Rodríguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau.