Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Mark W. Andrews, SJ, who died on November 5, 2020 at the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He was 68 years old. May he rest in peace.
Mark was born on September 29, 1952, in Chicago. Before entering the Society of Jesus, he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from DePaul University (1974). Mark entered the Society on September 12, 1981, at Berkley, Michigan. He was ordained on June 13, 1992, at Madonna della Strada on the campus of Loyola University Chicago. He professed final vows on February 2, 2003, at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, Illinois.
During regency, Mark taught religious studies at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois (1985-1988). After ordination, he earned a master’s of education degree from Boston College (1993) before teaching again at Loyola Academy for a few years. Mark was a gifted listener, conversationalist, and he truly cared for those with whom he spoke. People were able to talk freely and openly to him about all aspects of their lives. Mark’s superiors realized these gifts would be better used in spiritual direction instead of teaching high school students so, in 1996, he was missioned to Loyola House Jesuit Novitiate as an associate novice director (1996-2001). After Tertianship, Mark was missioned to Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, Illinois, where he wore many hats: retreat director, superior, and (a somewhat reluctant) acting director of the retreat house. In 2011, he became a spiritual father at and vice-superior of Arrupe House on the campus of Loyola University Chicago (2011-2018). In 2019, after spending a year as the assistant to the superior of the first studies program, he focused his energies on caring for his health. He was missioned in August 2020 to St. Camillus to pray for the Society and care for his health.
From the time that Mark entered the novitiate, his classmates and all who came to know Mark recognized that he was an “old soul”… as well as an “old shoe.” Both expressions were not merely clichés when it came to Mark. He sometimes referred to himself as a “Polish kid from the south side.” Prior to entering the Society, Mark had lived for a time with the Marist brothers while he was in discernment. He also was in a charismatic prayer group before he entered which he affectionately termed, “howling with the heretics.” He entered the Society at age 28 with a wealth of knowledge about the lives of the saints, theology, church, and politics. Long before Google, you could ask Mark about seemingly obscure church trivia or secular politics, and Mark could often tell a story and answer your question.
Mark was a humble, sensitive man of deep prayer who grew to love Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises. Mark’s highest gifts were his human and spiritual gifts. He was a tremendous listener who had the ability to put people at ease which would allow them to share the ups and downs of their interior life and relationship with the Lord. He also had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. Mark was comfortable with dark, “gallows humor,” which he would readily attribute to his Eastern European roots. Throughout his life, Mark was deeply devoted to the Eucharist. When he presided and preached, his fervent hope was that his presence would be self-effacing, and that the people in the assembly would experience the Lord working through him. He loved the Church and the Society, warts and all.
Because Mark had suffered greatly in life, he was able to enter with great compassion into the pain and suffering of others and bring the light of Christ’s love, mercy, and forgiveness to all who knew him. From time to time, Mark quietly would offer his priesthood to the AGLO community in Chicago (Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach). Among the people Mark helped as a spiritual director, many were gay people trying to find their place in our church. Whether someone knew Mark from living with him in community, or as a friend, a novice, a spiritual directee, a student, a retreatant, or even as a parishioner listening to one of his Sunday homilies—Mark’s spiritual depth was recognized by all who knew and loved him. Even when he was quietly in loyal dissent about something which frustrated him in the Church, he was steadfastly confident that God’s providence works through the Church to communicate God’s love and mercy.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
10:00 a.m. (CST)
Madonna della Strada
Loyola University Chicago
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the funeral will be closed to the public. Watch the livestream at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWKlQB5p-Fw&feature=youtu.be