Jesuit Father Robert L. Bireley died on March 14, 2018, at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 84 years old.
Fr. Bireley was born on July 26, 1933 in Evanston, Illinois. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on Aug. 8, 1951 at Milford, Ohio. Fr. Bireley was ordained on August 28, 1964 in Frankfurt, Germany. He pronounced final vows on August 15, 1974 at Loyola University Chicago.
Before entering the Society, Fr. Bireley graduated from Loyola Academy. As a Jesuit he earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin (1956) and a master’s degree in history (1963) from Loyola University Chicago. Fr. Bireley earned a Licentiate in Philosophy from West Baden College in Indiana (1958) and a Licentiate in Theology from Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany (1965). In 1972, Fr. Bireley earned his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.
During regency, Fr. Bireley taught history at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland (1958-1961). After earning his doctorate, Fr. Bireley began working at Loyola University Chicago, where he taught for over 45 years. In addition to teaching many students, Fr. Bireley wrote many well-researched books and articles, and served on editorial boards and executive committees. From 1992-1998, Fr. Bireley was superior of the former Ignatius House Jesuit Community (which was located next to St. Ignatius Parish). He moved to St. Camillus in January of 2017 to care for his health.