Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oldest Jesuit Dies At 105, Fr. James A. Martin, S.J.

R.I.P. Fr. Martin
Pierre Thompson
The world’s oldest Jesuit died Monday in Georgetown’s Wolfington Hall. Father James A. Martin, S.J., who celebrated his 105th birthday in August, passed away shortly after a Monday afternoon mass and having the last rites administered to him. “He had a peaceful death,” Fr. John Langan, S.J. said. “He was surrounded by the community, which doesn’t happen very often.” Martin’s funeral will take place today at 10 a.m. in Dahlgren Chapel. Martin’s wake, held in the Jesuit residence on Wednesday, was attended by family and friends. Martin served as a Jesuit for 68 years. His life at Georgetown began with his role as Assistant Dean of Men and Assistant Dean of Athletics from 1939 to 1940. During World War II, Martin left the University to serve as a U.S. Army Air Corps chaplain, which took him to North Africa, Italy and France, according to a University press release. Martin was involved with Georgetown’s Ignatian retreat program from 1972 to 1983. He was primarily responsible for the construction of the Loyola Retreat House in Faulkner, Md., which Georgetown students and faculty still use. Martin spent the remainder of his years at Georgetown after retiring in 1989. Although he may have been less active in the last years of his life, people remained well aware of him, Fr. Langan said. “He was very much loved by everybody because he was a very happy person,” Charlotte Daniel, Assistant to the Rector, said. “He was a colorful person … His favorite saying was ‘Isn’t it wonderful?’” Link with picture (here)

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