Father Edward F. Flaherty, SJ, died June 25 at St. Ignatius Hall in Florissant. He was 104 years old, a Jesuit for 63 years and a priest for 58 years. At his death, he was the oldest Jesuit in the global Society of Jesus.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated July 8 in the Jesuit chapel at St. Ignatius Hall at Garden Villas North in Florissant. The funeral Mass was livestreamed on YouTube.
Ed Flaherty was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on Oct. 3, 1918, to Edward and Mary Elizabeth Best Flaherty. He attended Rockhurst Jesuit High School in Kansas City, graduating in 1936. He then attended Rockhurst College and earned a bachelor’s degree in English, philosophy and Latin in 1940. He entered the armed forces during World War II and served for six years, mostly in the medical corps.
After leaving the Army, he worked in business for several years. In 1959, at age 40, he entered the novitiate in Florissant on Sept. 1, 1959. He pronounced first vows on Sept. 2, 1961, and was ordained a priest on June 9, 1965, at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas. He pronounced final vows on Nov. 6, 1971, at Regis College in Denver.
Father Flaherty began his apostolic ministry teaching Church History and the Old and New Testaments at Regis College in Denver 1968-72. In 1971, he also took on the role of an auxiliary chaplain at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, which he continued until 1994, and as a chaplain for the Knights of Columbus.
From 1972-75, he taught sacramental and spiritual theology at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver and in 1972 also became Coordinator of Religious Activities at Regis College, which he continued until 1982.
In his spare time, he taught adult education in local parishes.
In 2021, at the age of 102, he was missioned to the Jesuit senior community in St. Louis.
To those who knew him, Father Flaherty was firm in his faith and unwavering in his devotion — to the Lord, to his family and to his friends.
His first apostolic assignment to Regis College began a love affair of more than 50 years with Colorado, especially its mountains. His life of simplicity was reflected in the modest number of belongings that made the move to St. Louis after more than a century of life.
Father Flaherty earned a
Ph. L. and an S.T.B. from Saint Louis University. He also earned a master’s degree in theology from the University of San Francisco.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Sister Rita Flaherty, CSJ, and his brother, Donald M. Flaherty II. He is survived by his niece, Amy Hetherington, and his nephew Brian Flaherty.
Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.