Jesuit Father Donald W. Reck died Feb. 23, 2017, in St. Louis after a long illness. He was 83 years old, a Jesuit for 64 years and a priest for 51 years.
He was born in St. Louis on April 19, 1933, the son of William A. Reck and Clara Kadlez Reck, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his sister, Sr. Carleen Reck, SSND of St. Louis.
He graduated from St. Louis University High School in 1951. He spent a year at Saint Louis University before entering the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at St. Stanislaus Seminary, Florissant, Missouri, Aug. 8, 1952.
He studied philosophy at Saint Louis University, earning a B.A. (1958), M.A. (1959) and Ph.L.(1959). He studied theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas, earning an S.T.L. in 1967. He was ordained on June 9, 1965 at St. Mary’s. He pronounced his final vows on Dec. 8, 1975 at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St Louis. In 1972, he had earned the S.T.D. in Dogma/Systematic Theology at the University of Münster with the well-known Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner, SJ, as his director, with a thesis on the theology of secularization.
When he arrived at Saint Louis University with a doctorate in 1972, he was asked to administer a two-year experimental program in pastoral education. Over the next few years, he became co-director of a summer program of pastoral renewal for diocesan clergy and director of the Master of Divinity program. He was also involved in planning and occasional teaching for the University’s Corporate Ministry Program.
From 1976 to 1988, he served as co-director of the Institute of Religious Formation, where he oversaw the ongoing formation of priests and men and women religious. This had a global impact, since the participants of the Institute were religious from all over the world. He then served in campus ministry for Saint Louis University until 1997. During this time, he also served as superior of his Jesuit community, 1988-1991.
He moved to Saint Louis University’s Madrid campus in 1997, serving as campus minister and teaching theology. In 2008, he joined the Ignatian Spirituality Program in Denver. This allowed him to continue his commitment to the formation of Jesuit colleagues and partners. In 2010, he returned to St. Louis because of increasing health concerns.
On the occasion of Fr. Reck’s fiftieth anniversary as a Jesuit, Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach wrote, “Wherever you have gone, your brother Jesuits and those you teach and direct have come to know and respect a gentle and humble servant—prayerful, humble, steady, and loyal.”