Fr. John T. Dillon S.J.
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Dillon, S.J., Fr. John T.

May 12, 2020. Age 90. A Jesuit for over 65 years. He was born in Ludlow, Kentucky. His parents, Thomas and Mary Sullivan Dillon, raised six children, four boys and two girls. He is survived by his sister Margaret Dillon of Kentucky, his brother Lawrence Dillon of Virginia and numerous nieces and nephews.

John entered the Society in 1952 in Milford, Ohio. He was ordained on June 9, 1963, at West Baden College in southern Indiana, and took final vows on August 15, 1967, at Loyola University Chicago.

While in the Society, John earned a Master's Degree in philosophy and a MEd in guidance and counseling from Loyola University Chicago. During regency, he taught English at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School (1957-1960). After ordination, John spent over three decades ministering at Loyola University Chicago.

Just before the new millennium, Fr. John - almost 70 years old - was asked to move from doing wonderful work "behind the scenes" to the very public role of director of Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, Illinois (1999-2006). Although he had never desired to be "in charge," he took on the role because of obedience.

Fr. John then spent three years as a spiritual director at University of St. Mary of the Lake and Mundelein Seminary (2007-2010) before being missioned to Colombiere Center.

Fr. John was a devoted Jesuit who deeply loved Christ. Early in adulthood, John suffered an eye injury that left him blind in one eye and impaired in the other in such a way that he could not read for long periods. He trained himself to listen to his lectures in studies and throughout his life in meetings. This listening - and the synthesis of what was heard - helped John to be an excellent spiritual director and a trusted advisor to many. John's gifts helped countless directees leave spiritual direction with better self-knowledge and understanding of how very clearly God was active in their lives, and maybe more importantly, how active the individual was in God's life! John was also able to listen to people who were disagreeing with each other and use their own words to find a solution agreeable to all.

Years of chronic back pain helped John to be compassionate to others and empathize with their pain and challenges. As his back issues worsened and doctors did not know what more could be done for him, John took his pain and offered it to God as his own way of sharing the Cross with Jesus. He made his daily constant pain one long prayer to the Lord, giving thanks for allowing him to share in the mystery of Jesus' own suffering. Now, he suffers no more and has entered into the very mystery of Christ.

A Funeral Mass and burial will be held privately at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, MI. Memorial gifts to support the Jesuits may be made to the USA Midwest Jesuits, 1010 N. Hooker St., Chicago, IL 60642. Visit www.jesuitsmidwest.org to read full obituary, sign guestbook, or make an online memorial gift. A.J. Desmond & Sons, (248) 362-2500.

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Published in Chicago Sun-Times on May 17, 2020.
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