Jesuit Father Robert Sullivan, former Our Lady of Guadalupe pastor, dies at age 86
FLORISSANT, Mo. Jesuit Father Robert Sullivan, who served as a pastor, parochial vicar and hospital chaplain in Colorado Springs, died March 12 in Florissant, Missouri, at age 86. He was a Jesuit for 68 years and priest for 55 years.
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated March 18 in Florissant. Burial took place March 20 at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.
Father Sullivan was born in Denver on Nov. 1, 1936, to Louis and Mary Sullivan. He had one sister, Ann. After graduating from Regis High School, hen entered the Jesuit novitiate in Florissant on Aug. 8, 1954, and pronounced first vows on Aug. 15, 1956. After two years of Juniorate studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Philosophy degree at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.
He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1967, at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Denver and received a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from St. Louis University shortly after.
Father Sullivan received his first apostolic assignment in 1962, teaching Latin and typing, while coaching swimming and golf at St. Louis University High School.
Father Sullivan served in a pastoral ministry in Honduras from 1968 to 1982. “Padre Roberto,” as the people called him, was known for his love for the people he served. His years as a missionary in Honduras shaped the remainder of his Jesuit life.
After returning to the United States, he was missioned to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City, Mo., as associate pastor for the spring of 1983, and then to Mt. Carmel Parish in Pueblo as pastor from 1983 to 1987.
From 1987 to 1997, Father Sullivan served as the pastoral assistant to the provincial for the former Missouri Province. After a brief sabbatical, he served as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Colorado Springs until 2004.
For a few months, Father Sullivan was a parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Cathedral and a hospital chaplain at St. Francis Hospital. He gave up chaplaincy in 2004 and remained a pastoral minister at the cathedral until 2008.
“He was a wonderful priest and a blessing to all who knew him,” said Valerie Stevens, a former staff member at the cathedral. “He was a close friend of Msgr. Don Dunn as well.”
Father Sullivan returned to education in 2008, serving in campus ministry at Regis Jesuit High School for eight years. His final pastoral assignment was at Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he served from 2016 to 2021.
Father Sullivan moved to the Jesuit Hall Community in Saint Louis, where he began a ministry of prayer for the Church and the Society of Jesus, often spending hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Father Sullivan is survived by several second cousins.