BRADLEY, Rev. Robert Ignatius, S.J.|
Bradley, Rev. Robert Ignatius, S.J., returned peacefully to God in his sleep Dec. 20, 2013, at the Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, CA, at age 89 after a short illness. Born May 15, 1924 in Spokane, WA, he was the son of banker Joseph Bradley and Muriel (Wicks) Bradley, one of eight children in a Catholic family that produced four priests. He served as a priest in the Diocese of Austin from 1996 until November, when the Society of Jesus moved him to California.
Fr. Bradley graduated from Gonzaga High School in June 1941 and immediately entered the Society of Jesus at their Novitiate in Sheridan, OR. He studied at Mount St. Michaels, earning a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and Master of Arts in history. In 1949-1950, Fr. Bradley taught history at Gonzaga University, where he coached the debate team and was yearbook advisor. From 1951-1952, he taught Latin and history at Gonzaga High School, served as director of forensics and yearbook moderator, and led the debate team to win three statewide championships.
Fr. Bradley was sent to Louvain, Belgium, for his theology studies, and was ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 15, 1955. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Columbia University and taught history in the College of Arts and Sciences at Seattle University, where he became dean. In the late 1960s, he accepted a position as professor of theology at St. John's University, Long Island, NY, and became chaplain for the newly founded Catholics United for the Faith (CUF), serving for 30 years.
Fr. Bradley left St. John's in 1981 to teach theology at the Notre Dame Institute in Arlington, VA, now the Graduate School of Christendom College, Front Royal, VA. Every summer, he was director of the Catechetical Institute at Our Lady of Peace Monastery in Beaverton, OR. While teaching in Virginia, Fr. Bradley served as chaplain to the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Alexandria and also worked with the Legion of Mary there. After a year in Rome, he received a Sacred Theology Doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in 1988. While in Virginia, Fr. Bradley co-authored a translation of The Catechism of the Council of Trent with Monsignor Eugene Kevane. He is the author of The Roman Catechism in the Catechetical Tradition of the Church published in 1990. Fr. Bradley also wrote dozens of articles for Catholic magazines, including Lay Witness and Homiletic and Pastoral Review, as well as articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
He moved to his mother's home state of Texas in 1996 where he accepted an adjunct faculty position in theology at the University of Dallas Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies and taught there for several years while serving as a priest in the Diocese of Austin, where then Bishop John McCarthy assigned him to the St. Joseph Latin Mass Community. He also taught theology at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, NE. Fr. Bradley retired from active ministry in late 2011, working as a spiritual advisor in Austin until his transfer to California in November.
During his years in Austin, Fr. Bradley inspired six young men to enter the seminary, and helped many young people enter the Church, drawing them from the University of Texas to his Sunday Latin Mass liturgies at St. Mary's Cathedral. He was an inspiration and role model to countless men and women throughout the United States. A 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, he also served as chaplain to the Legion of Mary, conducted lectures on theology sponsored by Mrs. Susan Overbey at her home, and worked as a volunteer chaplain for 13 years with the Texas Crime Stoppers Council, most recently serving with Hill Country Area Crime Stoppers.
After declining in health, Fr. Bradley spent two months in the skilled nursing unit at Longhorn Village in Steiner Ranch, where he received loving and attentive care from the wonderful, kind and dedicated employees. His family is especially appreciative of the devoted help provided to him by Longhorn Village residents Drs. Marlene Weitzel and Barbara Petrocelli.
Fr. Bradley was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Joe, Bill, Fr. Richard, S.J., and Don and his sister, Muriel Kilmartin. He is survived by brothers Fr. Ted of Spokane and John of Norco, CA, as well as many nieces and nephews, including Dr. Betty Bosarge of Spicewood, TX, Father's caregiver, and Mia Smitt (Erik), Pam Kammerer (John), Jack Kilmartin (Lisa), all of California, Dick Kilmartin (Karen) of Rochester, NY, and Jill Waldschmidt (Steve) of Austin, TX.
A vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Jesuit House Chapel, Gonzaga University, Spokane, with the funeral Mass to follow at 11 a.m. Jan. 9 and burial in the Jesuit cemetery near his brother, Fr. Dick. A memorial Requiem Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Kirby Garner at Santa Cruz Catholic Church, 1100 Main St., Buda, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m., for Fr. Bradley's family members in Texas and his many friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Fr. Bradley's name to Santa Cruz Catholic Church, the Monastery of the Poor Clares, 2505 Stonehedge Drive, Alexandria, VA 22306, or Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, 7880 W. Denton Rd., Denton, NE 68339.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Jan. 5 to Jan. 6, 2014