Jesuit Father James L. Michalski died on December 6, 2014, following a short battle with an aggressive cancer. He was 72 years old, a Jesuit for 54 years, and a priest for 42 years.
Born April 30, 1942, in Milwaukee, Fr. Michalski attended Marquette University High School before entering the Society of Jesus in 1960. He was ordained on June 8, 1972, at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee. He pronounced final vows on April 22, 1980.
The Milwaukee native taught for 17 years at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha. He started the school’s freshman retreat and ran a program that focused on social justice issues. He spent part of one year in India, where he met Mother Teresa and worked for her for about six weeks. He worked in Uganda in East Africa for about six years, where he was instructed to build a residence for the Jesuit community. Before that, members of the community had to find their own accommodations.
After leaving Africa, Fr. Michalski returned to Creighton Prep. He began talking to north Omaha leaders about how to reach boys before they lost interest in education, and he became the founding president of the Jesuit Academy for boys in the fourth through eighth grades, which opened in 1996.
Fr. Michalski had been working for two years on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota when he learned he had melanoma. He moved back to Omaha for medical treatment.