Jerome Aquinas O'Leary
August 28, 2002
Born: Aug. 1, 1928 Professed: Sept 1, 1952 Ordained Priest: June 15, 1957
From the Funeral Service, September 2, 2002.
Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas, River Forest, IL
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Obituary (Chicago Tribune/ Chicago Sun-Times) Saturday, August 31, 2002
Rev. Jerome Aquinas O'Leary, O.P., age 74, August 28, 2002, beloved son of the late Margaret N., nee McCauley and John P. O'Leary; brother of Eileen Corley; preceded in death by his brother James; remembered fondly by his nieces and nephews, the Dominican friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great and his many friends. Funeral Services will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, 7200 W. Division St., River Forest, beginning with Visitation Sunday, August 31, 3 to 8 p.m., Office for the Dead, 7:30 p.m. Funeral Mass Monday, Sept. 1, 10:30 a.m. Interment Dominican plot, All Saints Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Society for Vocational Support, c/o Dominican Provincial Office, 1909 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60608. Info, 773-736-3833. Published in the Chicago Tribune on 8/31/2002.
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Patrick Jerome O'Leary was born on August 1, 1928 at Gratiot, Wisconsin, being the second of the three children of John Patrick O'Leary and Margaret Mary McCauley. For his primary education he attended Cub Hollow Public School, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, and for his secondary education, Gratiot Public High School, Gratiot, Wisconsin, and then the Public High School at Schullsburg, Wisconsin. Following high school he did a Theater Management Internship with the Melcher and Eskin Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1946-47), but then returned to help on the family farm. In 1948 he entered Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, which he attended for three years.
On August 30, 1951, he entered the Dominican Novitiate at St. Peter Martyr Priory, Winona, Minnesota, and was given the religious name Aquinas. He professed his first vows there on September 1, 1952, and moved immediately to St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, River Forest, Illinois, where he did his philosophical studies at the Pontifical Faculty of Philosophy (1952-55), earning a bachelor's degree in 1955. Because of the large number of clerical students at the time, he was among a group selected to do theological studies at St. Albert's College, Oakland, California (1955-58), where he earned a master's degree in theology and was ordained a priest on June 15, 1957, at the Cathedral in San Francisco. He returned to the College of St. Rose of Lima, Dubuque, Iowa, to complete his theological studies (1958-59).
As his first assignment Father O'Leary's served as an associate pastor for one year at St. Dominic Parish, Los Angeles, California. In 1960 he began the first of a long series of academic assignments, being appointed chaplain and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Trinity High School, River Forest, Illinois, a ministry which he continued until 1968. Then for two years he pursued graduate studies, earning a master's degree in Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary, New York, and becoming a candidate for the Doctor of Education degree at Teachers' College, Columbia University, New York. In 1970 he returned to the Chicago area and became the director of the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University, Chicago, a position which he held for twelve years. During this time he had the opportunity to influence the lives of many pastoral ministers in the Church. After a year of funded administrative leave, Father O'Leary became the executive assistant to the president of the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota (1983-88) and for one year acted as Provost of the college. After completing a sabbatical year (1988-89) he served as executive assistant to the president of St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota (1989-91).
Beginning in the fall of 1991 Father O'Leary undertook the first of several pastoral ministry assignments, first as chaplain for the Ursuline Sisters, Villa Maria Center, Frontenac, Minnesota (1991-93), then as chaplain for the Benedictine Sisters, St. Scholastica Priory (1993-94), Chicago, then as campus minister at Rosary College, River Forest, Illinois (1994-95), and finally as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Madison, Wisconsin (1995-96). It was during this last assignment that he began to experience health problems and was assigned to limited service with residence at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, River Forest, Illinois. However, he continued to engage in supply work as his health permitted.
In August, 2000, Father O'Leary suffered a heart attack and it was deemed necessary for him to move to Resurrection Life Center, Chicago, to obtain skilled are. His health continued to deteriorate and he died there on August 28, 2002. His was funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, River Forest, Illinois, on September 3, 2002, and burial was in All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois.