Jesuit Father Charles A. Leininger died March 10, 2018, in Dallas. He was 93 years old, a Jesuit for 77 years and a priest for 64 years.
Identical twins Charles A. and Joseph B. Leininger were born in New Orleans on May 22, 1924, the sons of Charles Andrew Leininger and Josephine Blessing Leininger. Each twin was known by his initials – C.A. and J.B. In addition to his parents and his twin, Fr. Leininger was predeceased by another brother, Leo P. Leininger. He is survived by his sister, Yvonne M. Leininger, a niece, Josephine A. Leininger, and a nephew, Charles J. Leininger.
After they graduated from Jesuit High School in 1940, both brothers entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) without discussing the decision with each other beforehand. They professed first vows in 1942, then studied humanities at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, followed by philosophy at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. Fr. Leininger earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1946. The brothers reunited for theology studies at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas, 1950-54, where Fr. Leininger earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology. He also earned a master’s in education from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Leininger twins were ordained to the priesthood together on June 17, 1953, at St. Joseph Chapel on the Spring Hill College campus. They also pronounced their final vows together on Aug. 15, 1957, in Sacred Heart Church (now St. Charles Borromeo), Grand Coteau.
Following theology studies, the brothers were missioned together only one time, from 1965 to 1967, when both were at Jesuit High School in New Orleans.
Fr. Leininger was assigned as principal at the former Jesuit High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, from 1955 to 1965. That school, no longer operated by the Jesuits, continues as Loyola College Prep. In 1965, he was named principal of Jesuit High School in New Orleans. Two years later, he became academic assistant principal at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston (1967-71).
In 1971, Fr. Leininger was named as Socius, or executive assistant, to former New Orleans Provincial Thomas Clancy, SJ; he was also appointed a province consultor. After four years, he was assigned to Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida, as academic assistant principal (1975-76) and then as principal (1976-78). He served as Socius for three more years (1978-81) under Provincial Thomas Stahel, SJ.
After his administrative service to the former New Orleans Province ended, he was at long last able to return to the high school classroom at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, and he remained there happily, teaching at various times English, Latin and ceramics.
His organization, clear thinking and attention to detail led to his being tagged for administration very early in his Jesuit life. He was a principal or assistant principal for a total of 19 years at four different high schools; in addition, he was the New Orleans Province Director of Secondary Education for three years (1972-75) while also serving as Socius.
He loved art and his paintings demonstrated a genuine talent. He also expressed this love through his active service as a trustee of the Jesuit Dallas Museum. He had a great devotion to supporting the foreign missions and assiduously collected stamps for this purpose. He served as a corporate board member of the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Fund for 40 years.
However, his true love was the high school classroom, and it was with relief and joy that he took up his mission when sent to Jesuit in Dallas in 1981. He simply loved teaching and frequently professed his desire to continue there as long as he possibly could. He was still on staff at the time of his death.