Fr. Daniel L. Flaherty, SJ, died on Feb. 13, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston. He was 89 years old. Fr. Flaherty was provincial of the Chicago Province from 1973-1979.
Dan (a.k.a "Flax") was born on July 29, 1929 in Chicago, Illinois. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on August 21, 1947 at Milford, Ohio. He was ordained on June 12, 1960 at West Baden College in southern Indiana, and took final vows on February 2, 1965 at America House in New York.
Before entering the Society, he graduated from St. Ignatius High School in Chicago (1947). As a Jesuit, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Classics (1952) and a Master's Degree in Philosophy (1957) from Loyola University Chicago. He earned Licentiate Degrees in Philosophy (1954) and Sacred Theology (1961) from West Baden College in West Baden, Indiana. He also studied communications at Northwestern University in Chicago (summer of 1958 and 1959).
After moving back to Chicago in 1971, he was the executive editor of Loyola University Press and the first editor/publisher of the National Jesuit News (1971-1973). Fr. Flaherty was the provincial of the Chicago Province from 1973-1979. During his provincialate, he was a delegate at General Congregation 32 (1974-1975). In 1979, he returned to Loyola University Press where he was associate director (1979-1981) and director (1981-1989). He then spent 20 years as treasurer of the Chicago Province (1989-2009). In addition to working in the province office, he was the acting superior of the Jesuit community at Canisius House from 2003-2011. In 2009 Fr. Flaherty left the province office and focused his energies on writing. He moved to Colombiere Center in 2011 to care for his health.
Every Jesuit has particular "Flax stories" -- from a personal conversation, province gathering, or professional meeting. He infused all these encounters with his love of Jesuit life and lore, his trenchant analysis of issues, his hearty laugh, and his deep affection for the Society and each one of us.
True Irishman that he was (the rose garden at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago is named in honor of his Dad), Fr. Flaherty loved to sing almost anything but, especially Irish tunes. His love of poetry and classical literature was amazing and his capacity to cite texts remarkable. He was a skilled editor in addition to being a creative writer.
While Fr. Flaherty was a book editor of America magazine, he helped Fr. Walter Ciszek write/edit his books: With God in Russia: The Inspiring Classic Account of a Catholic Priest's Twenty-three Years in Soviet Prisons and Labor Camps and He Leadeth Me. These books enabled countless people to become aware of Walter Ciszek and his struggles in Soviet prisons and labor camps as well as to realize the courage and hope that can be found in prayer. Fr. Flaherty and Fr. Ciszek became good friends as a result; a friendship Fr. Flaherty cherished throughout his life. Click here to read an America magazine article in which Fr. Flaherty reflects on helping to write With God in Russia.
During his provincialate years, Fr. Flaherty had the wisdom and creativity to mission younger Jesuits to leadership and governance, thereby renewing the Society and preparing the next generation of leaders for our works and communities. He often saw more in these men than they did in themselves. Fr. Flaherty is the reason St. Ignatius College Prep survived. He appointed one of these younger men to take on the presidency at SICP and turn things around in dramatic fashion. Fr. Flaherty's energy, vision, and love of the Gospel were marvelous to behold.
Fr. Flaherty was often moved to tears when he celebrated the Eucharist with great devotion. He and Fr. Arrupe had a special relationship during Fr. Flaherty provincialate, and, when Don Pedro died in 1991, Fr. Flaherty traveled to Rome to attend his funeral.
Visitation is Monday, Feb. 18, 3-8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. at Colombiere. Funeral Mass Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 10:45 a.m. at Colombiere Center, 9075 Big Lake Rd., Clarkston, Mich., with burial to follow. Memorial gifts to support the Jesuits may be made to the USA Midwest Jesuits, 1010 N. Hooker St., Chicago, IL 60642. Visit www.jesuitsmidwest.org to read full obituary, sign guestbook, or make an online memorial gift. A.J. Desmond & Sons, (248) 362-2500.