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Joseph A. Bracken, S.J. - d. 4/13/24

04/18/2024 9:46 AM | Anonymous

The CTSA prays for and remembers longstanding member Joseph A. Bracken, S.J.  

Eternal rest grant unto Joseph, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.

Fr. Bob Hurd, S.J., Xavier University, wrote to a CTSA member the following:

We just got word from our Jesuit infirmary near Milwaukee that our prime Jesuit theologian/philosopher/writer, Fr. Joe Bracken, died this morning. He was 94 years old.

Joe kept up his interest in Whitehead and “process philosophy” long after he retired from Xavier’s theology department and the Brueggeman Center and was a great inspiration for all of us somewhat younger Jesuits. He was also rector of the University Jesuit Community for many years and a great lover of racquetball and tennis.

You may also read about Fr. Bracken at the Jesuits Midwest website page, where he is quoted as saying "Being a Jesuit has been such a blessing in my life. It has allowed me to pursue an occupation that isn’t immediately profitable, but one which I believe has value through advancing knowledge as well as faith.”

Funeral is set for April 26 at the St. Camillus Jesuit Retirement Center in Milwaukee; burial of cremains at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.


  • 04/18/2024 10:26 AM | Judith A Merkle
    Thank you Joe for your energy and positivity. You will be missed! Thank you for all.
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  • 04/18/2024 10:27 AM | Leo D Lefebure
    Joe Bracken was a brilliant explorer of interreligious and philosophical paths, a model of scholarship and devotion, and a onetime companion on a Buddhist-Christian silence and awareness retreat. I owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude and pray that his name will be for a blessing.
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  • 04/18/2024 10:27 AM | Dr. Phyllis Zagano
    Prayers for Joe, his family, and the Midwest SJs
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  • 04/18/2024 10:43 AM | Paul F Lakeland
    Joe’s academic specialty was complex and arcane, but practiced by a genial and thoroughly charming guy with a movie-star physiognomy. Every convention we were at together he would contrive to be in the escalator up when I was going down, or vice-versa, with a broad smile that made my day. A mischievous Trinitarian indeed.
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    • 04/18/2024 11:20 AM | Dr Peter C Phan
      Joe was unfailingly a gentle and kind person but there was no way to shake him loose from his Process view of reality and God. I was (partially) responsible for the choice of his book "The Divine Matrix" as CTS Best Book of the Year and am very proud of this. May he now enjoy the vision of the Triune God whom he will no doubt convince of his view of God as Process!
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  • 04/18/2024 11:57 AM | Rev Thomas P Rausch SJ
    Fr. Joseph Bracken was an exemplary Jesuit who deepened Christian theology through the lens of Process Philosophjy.
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  • 04/18/2024 2:31 PM | Francis X Clooney, SJ (Administrator)
    Joe was indeed a wonderful Jesuit and serious, lifelong intellectual and scholar. I cannot count the number of times he reminded me to take process thought more seriously. In his honor, I should read Whitehead! Joe will be sorely missed...
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  • 04/18/2024 4:30 PM | Edmund Kee-Fook Chia
    This was probably one of Joe's last contributions to Process Thought, Buddhist-Christian dialogue and the Religion-Science conversation. He submitted the article to Studies in Interreligious Dialogue around this time last year and it just got published not too long ago. Indeed, it can be read as his capstone paper:

    God's Blessings on Joe's Good Soul
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  • 04/19/2024 10:24 AM | Dr William P Loewe
    A lovely man and a holy Jesuit. As my informant at Xavier he told me that my son, as a freshman, had managed to "piss off" the president by organizing the kitchen staff.
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  • 04/20/2024 10:07 AM | Father David Gentry-Akin, PhD, STD
    Joe made a deep impression on me from the first time that we met. Wise and gentle, he had that rare gift of combining real theological brilliance with the depth of his own prayer and contemplation so that every encounter with him was a graced one. I have the blessing of serving on several panels with Joe and was always enriched and stimulated to further thought by those encounters. I have used his books and articles in classes with great effect. I will miss him greatly. "May the angels welcome him to paradise; may the martyrs greet him on his way"
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    • 04/24/2024 12:09 PM | John F Haught
      I will miss Joe. For many years we shared and enjoyed an interest in the works of Whitehead and Teilhard. May he rest in peace.
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  • 05/02/2024 7:09 PM | Robert Gascoigne
    Joe was in Australia in 1992 and spoke to our Australian Catholic Theological Association conference - I met him again some years afterwards at the CTSA conference in Minneapolis in 1997. He was a very welcoming and benign person. May he rest in peace.
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  • 05/11/2024 2:29 PM | Margaret Mary Moore
    I'm so grateful for the blessings of Joe's friendship over the years and for introducing me to process theology! Pray for us that we pay it forward, Joe!
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  • 05/16/2024 9:31 PM | Edward T Ulrich
    I first met Joe when the CTSA was held in Minneapolis in 1998. At that time the Comparative Theology group was quite small, and at one point members had considered disbanding. Joe was a regular participant in the group, an anchor of the group. He was nurting and friendly towards me as a young, budding scholar. I remember him fondly.
    Link  •  Reply

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