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Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Robert (Bob) L. Dolan, SJ, who died on December 17, 2015, at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wis. He was 71 years old, a Jesuit for 53 years, and a priest for 42 years.
Bob was born on June 30, 1944, in Cincinnati. He graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati before entering the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on August 8, 1962, at Milford, Ohio. He was ordained a priest on June 16, 1973, in Cincinnati and professed final vows on October 3, 1976, in Tacna, Peru.
In 1964, Bob was one of the first Jesuit novices from the Chicago Province to be assigned to Peru; he spent most of the rest of his Jesuit life there, transcribing from the Chicago to the Peruvian Province in 1985. Bob earned a Licentiate in Classics from the Instituto de Humanidades Clásicas in Huachipa, Lima, Peru in 1966, and a bachelor's in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago in 1968. He studied theology at the Instituto de Filosofía in Mexico and earned a Licentiate in Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1974.
Bob was a pastoral assistant and taught adult education in Ilo, a city in the Moquegua region of Peru (1976-1981), before doing pastoral ministry, Christian Life Community work, and university youth ministry in Lima (1981-1988). He was then assistant pastor and, eventually, pastor of San Juan Baptist de Jarpa in Huancayo (1988-1998). Bob was procurator for the Peruvian Province in 1994, worked at Colegio Cristo Rey in Tacna (2003-2010), and was counselor at the Peruvian flagship school in Lima, Colegio de la Inmaculada (1994-2003 and 2010-2013). His final assignment in Peru was minister at la Inmaculada. There, he worked with parents and students, especially in the area of sacramental preparation.
Bob was known among the Peruvian Jesuits as one who was available for any assignment he was asked to do. This open disposition led him to work with those in the greatest need, both on the coast and in the high Peruvian mountains. On several occasions, his work brought him face-to-face with members of the Shining Path, the terrorist group that held the country hostage in the 1980s.
During a 2014 health sabbatical in Chicago, Bob — who was an avid walker — was struck by an automobile while he was in a crosswalk. After hospitalization and numerous physician visits, he spent several months at a rehab facility in Des Plaines, Ill., before being assigned to St. Camillus. Bob dealt with his illness and the accident with the same faith and grace with which he approached his life as a Jesuit in service to others.