Jesuit Father Joseph T. Brennan died on Oct. 17, 2015, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 79 years old.
Fr. Brennan was born on Oct. 10, 1936 in Rochester, New York, and grew up in the Chicago area. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on Sept. 1, 1957 at Milford, Ohio. He was ordained on May 29, 1969 at St. Joseph Church in Aurora, Illinois, and took final vows on Sept. 17, 1983 at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Before entering the Society, Fr. Brennan attended the University of Notre Dame and he remained a strong supporter of the “Fighting Irish” the rest of his life. As a Jesuit, Fr. Brennan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Latin (1961) and a Master’s degree in English (1966) from Loyola University Chicago. He earned a Licentiate Degree in Philosophy from West Baden College in West Baden, Indiana (1963), and a Masters of Divinity from Bellarmine School of Theology in North Aurora, Illinois (1970). Fr. Brennan also obtained a Masters of Education in Counseling from Xavier University in Cincinnati (1972).
Fr. Brennan spent most of his Jesuit life counseling students. During Regency Fr. Brennan taught Latin and English at Loyola Academy in Wilmette (1963-1966). After ordination, Fr. Brennan spent almost 20 years at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to student counseling, he was a teacher (1971-1983) and the director of the Guidance department (1983-1989). In 1990, after a sabbatical at Marquette University, Fr. Brennan moved to Chicago where he worked at St. Ignatius College Prep until 2010. In addition to student counseling, he was a faculty chaplain and a sacramental minister. Fr. Brennan moved to Colombiere Center in 2010 to care for his health.
In addition to counseling students, Fr. Brennan used his gifts for the benefit of the Society. He was rector of St. Xavier High School (1983-1989) and St. Ignatius College Prep (1990-1997 and 2003-2009). He was also a Chicago Province Consultor (1986-1992).
Fr. Brennan was very much respected for his friendship and collaboration with his lay colleagues both at St. Xavier High School and St. Ignatius College Prep. For many men and women on both faculties he was their valued colleague, pastor, and friend. Fr. Brennan was instrumental in the founding of the Chicago Province high school “PPR” — the group of presidents, principals, and rectors which developed strategies for integrating our Jesuit ethos within the school’s policies and curriculum. While Rector at St. Xavier, Fr. Brennan developed the first province high school “Sustaining Agreement,” which articulated points of collaboration among the school’s Board of Trustees, its Jesuit community, and the Province. He helped develop a similar document during his years as rector of St. Ignatius.