March 16, 2023 – Father Robert L. Sullivan, SJ, died Sunday, March 12, 2023, in Florissant, Mo. He was 86 years old, a Jesuit for 68 years and a priest for 55 years.
Remembered by his Jesuit brothers for his simple piety, his funeral Mass will be held at St. Ignatius Hall at Garden Villas North in Florissant, on Saturday, March 18, at 4:00 p.m., with a visitation beginning at 3:30 p.m. in the same location. Burial will follow at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 20, 2023, in Calvary Cemetery, St. Louis. The Mass will be livestreamed on YouTube.
Robert L. Sullivan was born in Denver on Nov. 1, 1936, to Louis and Mary Harrington Sullivan. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Ann Sullivan, S.L. He is survived by several second cousins and his brothers in the Society of Jesus.
After graduating from Regis High School in Denver, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Florissant, Mo., on Aug. 8, 1954, and pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1956. After two years of Juniorate studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Philosophy degree at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.
He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1967, at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Denver and received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Saint Louis University shortly after.
Father Sullivan received his first apostolic assignment in 1962, teaching Latin and typing, while coaching swimming and golf at St. Louis University High School.
Father Sullivan served in a pastoral ministry in Honduras from 1968 to 1982. “Padre Roberto,” as the people called him, was known for his love for the people he served. His years as a missionary in Honduras shaped the remainder of his Jesuit life.
After returning to the United States, he was missioned to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City, Mo., as associate pastor for the spring of 1983, and then to Mt. Carmel Parish in Pueblo, Colo., as pastor from 1983 to 1987.
From 1987 to 1997, Fr. Sullivan served as the pastoral assistant to the provincial for the former Missouri Province. After a brief sabbatical, he served as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., until 2004.
For a few months, Fr. Sullivan was a parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Cathedral and a hospital chaplain at St. Francis Hospital, both in Colorado Springs. He gave up chaplaincy in 2004 and remained a pastoral minister at the Cathedral until 2008.
He returned to education in 2008, serving in campus ministry at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., for eight years. His final pastoral assignment was at Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque, where he served from 2016 to 2021.
Father Sullivan moved to the Jesuit Hall Community in Saint Louis, where he began a ministry of prayer for the Church and the Society of Jesus, often spending hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through Fr. Sullivan’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.