Fr. Rob Brennan, SJ passed peacefully on Saturday, September 2, at the Jesuit Infirmary, René Goupil House, in Pickering, ON. Fr. Brennan was 78 years old and about to celebrate his 53rd anniversary as a Jesuit.
He entered the Jesuits on September 9, 1970, and was ordained a priest by Emmett Cardinal Carter on June 2, 1979. After tertianship in Manila, Philippines, he made final vows at Brebeuf High School in May 1984.
Rob’s Jesuit life was defined by high school teaching and chaplaincy, and particularly by his connection with Loyola High School in Montreal. He spent time as a regent at Loyola High School in Montreal, then at Brebeuf in Toronto for 10 years, before returning to Loyola for a 12- year stint as chaplain. He then spent four years as coordinator of the pastoral team at Saint Paul’s High School before returning to Loyola in 2006, where he was teacher, chaplain, and twice acting president and president of the high school.
Rob had a deep love for the students and faculty he accompanied and served as chaplain. He made deep and lasting connections with hundreds and hundreds of them, celebrating marriages, baptisms, and family funerals. Sacramental ministry was at the heart of his Jesuit life, and he connected with parents and families of Loyola students. He was an enthusiastic if not always knowledgeable coach of sports teams. He kept a special place in his heart for his experiences of ministry during tertianship in the Philippines, and for the Indigenous peoples he served in Northern Ontario earlier in his priestly life. He was also an able mentor of younger Jesuits.
A loyal community member, Rob could be counted on to enquire about the interests and the events in the life of his fellow Jesuits. He had a penchant for military and political history but could engage in discussion on many topics as a result of his wide interests and voracious reading. His struggles with illness later in life brought out a softer and more vulnerable side of his personality in his sharing with fellow community members.