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In Memoriam

Brother Michael J. Bennett, SJ, a member of the Jesuits West Province of the Society of Jesus, who worked in Alaska, Zambia and the Philippines and among Native Peoples of the Pacific Northwest, died March 10, 2023, in the infirmary at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 88 years of age and a Jesuit for 65 years.

Br. Bennett was born April 6, 1934, in Great Falls, Montana, to Carroll R. and Josephine (McNaught) Bennett. He entered the Oregon Province in 1957. He served as infirmarian at the Novitiate of St. Francis Xavier in Sheridan, Oregon (1961-1967), and as community administrator at Gonzaga Preparatory in Spokane, Washington (1967-1969), before joining the new Oregon Province mission in Zambia, where he handled the finances and community business at the Jesuit house (1967-1975) and served as bursar for the Zambia Bishops Conference (1976-1982), both in Lusaka.

He returned to the U.S. in 1982 and served as community administrator at the novitiate, now relocated to Portland, Oregon. In 1985, he took a position as the financial manager of the East Asian Pastoral Institute, a Jesuit-run renewal and pastoral leadership program on the campus of the Ateneo de Manila in the Philippines. In March 1989, he returned to Africa, working with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Nairobi, Kenya, and then back to Lusaka as administrator of the Jesuit community until 1994.

Br. Bennett continued his ministry back in the Pacific Northwest with positions at Gonzaga University’s Jesuit community; the Loyola Renewal Center in Portland, Oregon; the Jesuit residence in Fairbanks, Alaska; and at other communities in Oregon and Washington. His work was always centered on the day-to-day and financial administration of Jesuit works. His last years of active ministry were spent as a pastoral minister to Native peoples on the Spokane Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Blackfeet Reservation in Harte Butte, Montana. He retired to a ministry of prayer, first in Spokane (2011-2015) and then at Los Gatos, from 2015 until his death.

Br. Bennett was predeceased by his brother, Richard. He is survived by his sisters, Sister Margaret Bennett, CHM, of Davenport, Iowa; Joanne Waldenberg of Spokane; Mary Louise Gallagher of Jacksonville, Florida; 21 nieces and nephews; and special friends Linda and Larry Hoffman of Spokane.

Private funeral services will be held at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 11:15 am. For livestream link go to Inurnment will be at the Jesuit Cemetery in Spokane at a later date.

Donations in memory of Brother Bennett may be made to the Jesuits West Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031, or to a charity of your choosing.