TORONTO — Canada’s Jesuits are in mourning after five members of their community, including four priests, died of COVID-19 at the religious order’s long-term care facility in Pickering, Ontario.
Jesuit Fathers Michael Hawkins, 83, Peter Larisey, 91, Norman Dodge, 92, and Francis Xavier Johnson, 93, as well as layman George O’Neill, 77, died between April 29 and May 3 at Rene Goupil House, an infirmary near the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre.
All the deceased became infected while residing at the Jesuit community, where 16 of 22 residents and an unspecified number of staff tested positive for COVID-19. The facility has been in lockdown since March 9.
Since there can be no Jesuit without a mission, all the men living at the infirmary in Pickering are assigned to pray for the Society of Jesus, and thereby to also pray for the church and the world.
O’Neill had been resident at Rene Goupil House for many of his 57 years of Jesuit life.
During 63 years as a Jesuit, Hawkins had been a retreat master, a teacher and a missionary in the Darjeeling region of India.
Dodge was a social worker who, in 67 years as a Jesuit, established outreach programs for seniors and the homebound in Ottawa and Montreal and served as superior of the Jesuits in Ottawa from 1997 to 2003.
Larisey obtained a Ph.D. in modern art history at Columbia University in New York in the 1960s. He became one of the leading experts on the art of Canadian painter Lawren Harris and in 1993 published an award-winning, 300-page critical overview of Harris’ life.
For decades, Larisey taught and wrote at the intersection of modern art history and theology at Regis College. The annual Peter Larisey Lecture in art and theology has been presented at Regis College since 2011. He also mentored young members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
Swan is associate editor of The Catholic Register, Toronto.