Fr. Hugh O’Donnell, C.M. succeeds Fr. Robert Maloney in the Vincentian Chair for Social Justice.
Father O’Donnell brings to the Chair a remarkable record of accomplishment as a teacher and scholar; extensive leadership experience; and a global vision acquired through service to the Vincentian community worldwide. Born in Chicago of immigrant parents, Father O’Donnell was ordained a Vincentian priest in 1961. He earned a B.A. in Scholastic Philosophy at St. Mary’s Seminary, Perryville, Missouri and subsequently earned an M.A. in Classical Latin at De Paul University, an M.S. in Library Science at The Catholic University of America, and an S.T.D. in Biblical Theology at Fribourg University in Switzerland. Following the Vincentian mission to form the clergy, he served as a professor and Director of Formation for Priestly Candidates at Saint Thomas Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado and as rector of Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He also served for three terms as Provincial of the community’s Midwest Province. In 1993, he went to Taiwan to develop what was to become the Vincentians’ China Province; he served as Provincial and is currently a member of that Province. He has also served as Director of the International Center of Formation for the Congregation of the Mission in Paris. He is the author of numerous articles on St. Vincent, St. Louise de Marillac, and the China mission and has edited and translated works related to Vincent and Louise as well.
Father O’Donnell has been a member of St. John’s Board of Trustees since 2006 and received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2000. He also served on the Board of Trustees and the Board of Members of DePaul University.
As many of you are aware, the Chair was established jointly by the University and the Province in 1994 in order to respond to a challenge given to the Vincentians by Pope John Paul II: to search out, with ever-greater intensity, boldness, humility, and skill, the causes of poverty and to encourage the development of concrete solutions. Since that time, scholars from both outside and within the University have held the Chair and, through lectures, presentations, and educational programs, focused on these issues. In addition, a variety of University programs and structures, including VISA and the widespread incorporation of service learning into St. John’s curriculum, have been designed and implemented to address the problem of poverty as well.