Father Edward Flaherty, SJ, died June 25, 2023, just months shy of his 105th birthday. He was the oldest Jesuit in the global Society of Jesus – and one much loved and respected by his Jesuit brothers, some of whom offered a few words of remembrance.
Father William T. Oulvey, SJ (former Jesuit superior)
“I first met Fr. Ed Flaherty, SJ, during the summer of 1975 when a group of Missouri Province novices took vacation at the Jesuit Villa of Maryvale in Fraser, Colorado. He was the local superior and offered us hospitality we all warmly remember to this day. That was the way Fr. Ed cared for so many people, Jesuit and lay people.
Many, many years later, in 2016 when I came to Denver as superior of the Jesuit Community at Regis University and Arrupe Jesuit High School, Ed lived “down the hill” at Xavier Jesuit Center. He was concerned that the records of Maryvale that he shepherded for many years would be lost. The two of us packaged these records and sent them to the Jesuit Archives. Preserving our history was important to Fr. Ed.
Likewise, When the parishioners of the Shrine of St. Anne in Arvada celebrated his 100th birthday, Ed was thrilled yet, he would say, ‘What’s the fuss?” He was humble to the core.
When the time came for Fr. Ed and the other members of Xavier Jesuit Center to move to St. Louis, he took the time to travel by car with his grandnieces and nephews to his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, before arriving at Jesuit Hall. It was bittersweet and poignant to leave a place he had served for more than 50 years, yet he did so with graciousness, generosity and a quiet sense of adventure.
I miss him and our conversations after Mass, at social and dinner. May he rest in peace.”
Father John P. Fitzgibbons, SJ (former president of Regis University)
“Meeting Father Ed Flaherty was an experience of grace. While I had met Father years before, I came to know him in 2012, when I was missioned to Regis University. He brought gentle wisdom to every conversation…along with some dry wit!
While he was living at Xavier Jesuit Community very near the Regis campus, he made his heart-felt reverence for the Society of Jesus and the Church evident. Moreover, as a World War II veteran, He expressed great gratitude for fellow vets. Though he was highly decorated, he never spoke of himself or his experiences in the South Pacific. Yet he knew the trauma of war, the cost of war.
When the United States government wanted to give him the medals and commendations he had earned while serving in the Army, Father Flaherty demurred. Yet, his brother Jesuits kept encouraging him to receive the thanks of a grateful nation. Finally, the minister of the XavierJesuit Community called one of our US Representatives, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, Father was awarded several medals and citations for outstanding service to his country. Alerted to the ceremony, I met with Father just before the Congressman and an Army General spoke. Father Flaherty leaned in close and whispered, “John, I am embarrassed but grateful … but if you had anything to do with this, I’ll get even!”
Father Flaherty was a quietly heroic servant of God. He taught at Regis University with vigor and love for students and faculty. He worked with and accompanied veterans who trusted him profoundly. He served the people of God in many parishes with Godly care.”
Father Michael J. Sheeran, SJ (former president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities)
“Whether he was teaching a class, playing a round of golf, or offering Sunday Mass at St. Anne’s in Arvada, Ed always knew how to take time for a conversation. If you brought him a problem, he asked helpful questions that also let you know he wanted to support you. I’ll truly miss him.”