March 31, 2023 – Fr. Robert E. Bosken, SJ, died March 27, 2023, in his hometown of St. Louis. He was 97 years old, a Jesuit for 79 years and a priest for 66 years. Nearly all of Fr. Bosken’s service was in St. Louis, at Saint Louis University, St. Louis University High School and De Smet Jesuit High School.
Beloved by his Jesuit brothers for his wry sense of humor and compassionate nature, Fr. Bosken will be remembered in a Mass of Christian Burial in the chapel of St. Ignatius Hall at Garden Villas North in Florissant, Mo., on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. A visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the same location. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery immediately after Mass.
The funeral Mass will be live streamed on YouTube with the title “Mass of Christian Burial for Fr. Robert Bosken, SJ.”
He was born Oct. 14, 1925, to Elmer H. and Eugenia M. Gerst Bosken, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his brother, Eugene A. Bosken, sister-in-law Yvonne, two nieces, two nephews and numerous great- nieces and nephews.
Following his graduation from St. Louis University High School, he entered the Society of Jesus in Florissant, Mo., on Aug. 8, 1943. He pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1945, and was ordained to the priesthood at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas, on June 18, 1956. He pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit on Aug. 15, 1960, at Regis College in Denver.
He began his ministry as a teacher in 1950 at Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wis., teaching Latin. His first apostolic assignment as a priest was teaching Latin at St. Louis University High School, 1957-58. He taught theology at Parks Air College in St. Louis 1959-60, before beginning an extended ministry teaching theology at Saint Louis University in 1960. His tenure at SLU was interrupted for studies, but otherwise continued until 1978.
In 1978, Fr. Bosken returned to work in the secondary schools, as a teacher of religion and/or student counselor from 1978 until 2010 at De Smet Jesuit High School, where he was popular with the students. His role as counselor suited both his compassionate temperament and his gifts, enabling him to uplift young men in need of some encouragement from a friend who cared about them.
He began a ministry of prayer in 2011.
Father Bosken earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, philosophy of letters degree and a licentiate in sacred theology all from Saint Louis University. He studied theology at St. Mary’s College in Kansas. He also did studies at the Catechetics Institute in Brussels and at the Institut Catholique in Paris, which awarded him a doctorate in sacred theology.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through Fr. Bosken’s life of service to God and God’s people.
Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website.