Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

In Memoriam

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of our brother, Fr. M. Dennis Hamm, SJ, who died on November 19, 2023 at St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwautosa, Wisconsin. He was 87 years old. May he rest in peace.

Dennis was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from Marquette University High School (1954), and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Marquette University before entering the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus on August 14, 1958. Since the novitiate could not accommodate the number of men entering the Wisconsin Province in 1958, Dennis’ novitiate was at Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos, California. He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1970 at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee, and pronounced final vows on March 25, 1980 at St. John’s Church on the campus of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

While in the Society, Dennis earned a master’s degree in English (1964), a master’s degree in scripture (1970), and a doctorate in Biblical language and literature (1975) from Saint Louis University.

During regency, Dennis taught English at Creighton Preparatory School (1964-1965) and Creighton University (1965-1967). While he was in doctoral studies, he was a fellow at Yale School of Divinity (1973-75). After earning his doctorate, Dennis returned to Omaha and spent nearly 50 years ministering at Creighton University where he was a professor of theology (1975-2014) and professor emeritus of theology (2014-2022). In 2022, he was missioned to St. Camillus to care for his health.

Dennis was an outstanding scripture scholar and an active member of the Catholic Biblical Association, the Society of Biblical Literature, the College Theology Society, and Pax Christi. He was an expert on the Gospel of Luke and wrote four books and more than a hundred articles on topics relating to the New Testament and its implications for Jewish-Christian relations. He is also the author of the 1994 America Magazine article “Rummaging for God: Praying Backwards through Your Day“. This reflection on the Examen was a popular approach to introducing people to the value of the Examen and helping them feel less intimidated by the prospect of a daily Examen. 

Dennis was a lover of poetry and the arts, a fan of movies, a devoted member of CLC, a frequent presider and in depth preacher, and a delightful community member. He had a passion for social justice advocacy and, after the publication of Laudato Si, was greatly concerned about and read widely on climate change and its impact on the environment.

Father Andy Alexander, SJ, offers these reflections:
I enjoyed almost daily discussion of an array of topics that interested him. I was inspired by his commitment to the promotion of justice and advocacy. I admired his ability to open up the scriptures. While missing him deeply, I rejoice in the consolation of his being embraced by the Word he broke open for others.

Father Greg Carlson, SJ, had these memories:
Dennis Hamm was a wonderfully sensitive reader of texts and so of biblical literature. For me, he has been a continuing source of holy insight. Dennis was a gentle, patient, faithful brother. It was a grace to live with him.