Jesuit Father Jon J. O’Brien, 87, of the Georgetown Jesuit Community in Washington D.C., died on July 31, 2013. He was a Jesuit for 60 years and a priest for 50 years.
Fr. O’Brien, son of George P. O’Brien and Bridget T. Daly, was born on May 22, 1926, in Philadelphia. Following graduation from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia in 1943, he attended Fordham University Business School in the Bronx, N.Y., for a year and then Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business in 1946.
After a year of service in the U.S. Navy, he studied at Georgetown University Law School from 1947 to 1948 and at Yale University Law School, where he received a J.D. degree in 1950. He practiced law until 1953, when he entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pa., on July 1, 1953. Fr. O’Brien pronounced his First Vows in the Society on July 31, 1955, and studied the humanities for a year before leaving for Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, N.Y., to pursue philosophical studies leading to a Licentiate degree in philosophy in 1958.
As a Jesuit scholastic, Fr. O’Brien taught economics at Loyola College (now University) in Baltimore from 1958 to 1960 and then studied theology from 1960 to 1964 at Woodstock College in Maryland, where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1963. He received a Licentiate degree in Theology in 1964. From 1964 to 1965, he completed his Tertianship at St. Jerome in Quebec, Canada, and was then sent to study at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he received a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree in 1967. Fr. O’Brien professed his Final Vows in the Society of Jesus at St. Joseph’s College (now University) in Philadelphia on August 15, 1973.
In 1967, Fr. O’Brien began his priestly ministry at St. Joseph’s University as professor of theology and moderator of debating before pursuing studies from 1971 to 1975 for a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. A four year residency in psychiatry followed at Georgetown University. Upon completion in 1979, Fr. O’Brien remained at Georgetown until 1994 as psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry in the medical school and hospital (1979 to 1994) and associate dean (1981 to 1994).
In 1994, Fr. O’Brien was assigned to the North American College in Rome where he was staff psychiatrist and director of counseling to seminarians. In 2000, he returned to the United States to serve as a professor at the Theological College at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., until 2007 and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown Medical Center until 2011. Fr. O’Brien continued his work as a psychiatrist and as a pastoral minister in the Washington, D.C., area until his death.