Jesuit Father Charles M. Shelton died Jan. 20, 2014, in Denver. He was 63 years old and a Jesuit for 41 years.
Born in Berea, Ky., on May 6, 1950, Fr. Shelton grew up in Indiana. After graduating from Saint Louis University with a B.A. in political science, Fr. Shelton entered the Society of Jesus at Kostka House, in Kansas City, Mo., on Sept. 17, 1972.
After novitiate, Fr. Shelton studied philosophy and completed an M.A. in political science at Saint Louis University. From 1976 to 1979 he taught social studies at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver. Fr. Shelton earned an M.Div. at Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and was ordained to the priesthood at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis on June 11, 1982.
From 1983 to 1987, Fr. Shelton studied psychology at Loyola University Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. after completing a clinical psychology internship at Indiana University School of Medicine.
In 1988 Fr. Shelton became a Professor of Psychology at Regis University in Denver, a position that he would hold for the next 26 years. Fr. Shelton was an engaging and demanding teacher, who continually held his students to high standards. He regularly presided at student liturgies on campus and was known for his thoughtful homilies and spiritual depth. For many years, Fr. Shelton served as the chaplain to the Regis men’s soccer and baseball teams, providing support, encouragement and good humor to the athletes.
Fr. Shelton maintained a private practice in clinical psychology from 1988 to 2005. He was an esteemed counselor and resource to many people in the Denver area, including priests and religious of the Archdiocese.
Soon after he began teaching, Fr. Shelton published “Adolescent Spirituality: Pastoral Ministry for High School & College Youth” (Crossroad, 1989). The book was well received and became a popular resource for educators and pastoral ministers. Fr. Shelton also published numerous articles and wrote several other books including “Pastoral Counseling with Adolescents and Young Adults” (Crossroad, 1995), “Achieving Moral Health: An Exercise Plan for Your Conscience” (Crossroad, 2000) and “The Gratitude Factor: Enhancing Your Life through Grateful Living” (Paulist Press, 2010). He was a popular presenter on topics of spirituality and adolescent psychology.
Fr. Shelton was a valued member of the Regis University Jesuit Community. He helped establish and maintain the longstanding tradition of community members sharing their lives and their faith during weekly meetings. Throughout his life, Fr. Shelton maintained good friendships with colleagues, former students and their families in the Denver area and beyond.
In December 2013 Fr. Shelton was diagnosed with Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. After a hospital stay, he returned to the Regis community and was regaining his strength when he collapsed from extensive bleeding in the brain. He died at the hospital later that same day surrounded by students, friends and fellow Jesuits. Fr. Shelton is survived by his sisters, Lois Jansen and Marta Shelton.
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.