Father Terence Fay died peacefully in the Lord very early on 5 September, 2021 at the Ajax-Pickering Hospital. He was in his 89th year and was a Jesuit for 67 years. Terry, the son of Hugh Fay and Susan Dunne, was born in Syracuse, NY on 28 June, 1932. After completing a bachelors’ degree at LeMoyne College in 1953, he enrolled for a year at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, studying Latin and Greek. That year he made a retreat in Guelph and entered the Society there on 15 August, 1954. After novitiate and juniorate Terry journeyed in 1958 to Mount St. Michael’s in Spokane, WA for two years of philosophy. While there he obtained an MA in History from Gonzaga University. He began regency at Regiopolis College teaching English, History and Geography. Theology took place at Regis College, Willowdale from 1963 to 1967 and he was ordained in Toronto on 3 June, 1967. Terry participated in the famous Jesuit canoe voyage from Midland to Montreal during Expo 67. Very keen on history, Terry spent four years (1967 – 1971) at Georgetown University and earned a doctorate in history on Canadian-American relations.
In 1971 Terry moved to Winnipeg to become student chaplain and faculty member at St. Paul`s College for thirteen years. During these years Terry was active in taking on leadership roles in various academic societies. Terry was granted a sabbatical and in 1985 moved to Toronto where he spent the rest of his life. Stationed at Regis College, he became involved in writing, doing research in the Jesuit Province archives, and serving for a few years as director of the Dictionary of Jesuits in Canada. Terry was a professor at the Toronto School of Theology, teaching the history of religion at St Augustine’s Seminary and at the University of St Michael’s College. In 1988 he joined the community at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. While generous in doing pastoral ministry, his main focus was historical writing.
From his research and reflection on the struggles of Canadian Catholics over four hundred years, Terry published A History of Canadian Catholics: Gallicanism, Romanism, and Canadianism. This volume was published by McGill University Press in 2002. He utilized available research to create the first comprehensive history of Catholics in Canada. In 2003 he published The New Faces of Canadian Catholics: The Filipinos, Chinese, and Tamils. In 2020 he published the second edition of his book, Canadian Catholic Spirituality over 400 Years.
Terry enjoyed celebrating the early morning Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toronto. Not always engrossed in historical research, and blessed with an engaging personality, he undertook to organize the Catholic Engaged Encounter at the parish. He had excellent health, loved tennis, and enjoyed walking and bicycling. His historical recollections were welcomed by many. He was a good listener and loved stories told in diverse communities, both ecclesial and secular. His Irish genes figured large in importance for Terry, who wrote for the quarterly review, STUDIES, published by the Irish Jesuits.
In view of his energetic and full life that included multiple projects, it was a shock to all when severe melanoma was diagnosed in 2021 leading to surgery on his back in late August. His decline in health was swift. Just a day or two after his surgery he was move from Lourdes to Rene Goupil House, the Jesuit Infirmary in Pickering. In his few days there, Terry suffered some harsh falls which led to him being hospitalized during his last days