Father Daniel C. O’Connell, SJ, died Dec. 21, 2020, in St. Louis. He was 92 years old, a Jesuit for 75 years and a priest for 62 years.
He was born on May 20, 1928, in Sand Springs, Okla., to John A. and Letitia McGinnis O’Connell. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in by his brother, John, and his sisters Julia Green, Virginia Sabin, and Sr. Letitia O’Connell, IHM. He is survived by several nieces, nephews and cousins.
He attended parochial schools in Dallas and St. Louis before attending St. Louis University High School, from which he graduated in 1945. He entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., on Aug. 8, 1945 and pronounced his First Vows on Aug. 15, 1947. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1958 at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas.
He spent many years in study, earning a bachelor’s degree in Greek, a licentiate in philosophy, and a Master’s degree in psychology from Saint Louis University. After this were two years of regency at Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisc., where he taught Latin and Elocution. He studied theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas, earning a licentiate in sacred theology. He earned a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Illinois at Champaign in 1963, followed by a post-doctoral year at Harvard. He had a second post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
He taught psychology at Saint Louis University 1966-68, then spent a year doing research at the Free University of Berlin in Germany. He again taught psychology in St. Louis 1969-74, was rector of the Jesuit community 1973-74. From 1974 to 1978, Fr. O’Connell was president of Saint Louis University.
After leaving SLU, Fr. O’Connell taught or did research at a variety of universities: University of Kansas, 1978-79; Kassel University in Germany 1979-80; Loyola University in Chicago 1980-86, 87-90, 98-2003; Georgetown University 1986-87, 90-96, 97-98; the Technical University of Berlin 96-97. In 2003 he returned to St. Louis, where he spent the remainder of his life in research and writing, as well as praying for the Church and the Society.
His funeral Mass was at St. Francis Xavier College Church on Dec. 28, 2020, and he was buried at Calvary Cemetery the following day.
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.