Fr. John J. Kenealy, S.J., died on July 2, 2017, in Chicago. He was 90 years old, a Jesuit for 72 years, and a priest for 59 years.
Fr. Kenealy entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus in 1945. He studied philosophy in Shembaganur, India, and theology in Bettiah, India. He was ordained a priest in 1958 in Pro-Cathedral, Bankipur, India, and he transcribed to the Patna Province in 1962.
He loved the people of Bihar, whom he was sent to serve. As an expression of his commitment to them, he adopted a very simple lifestyle, which he maintained to the very end. Not only did he learn Hindi well, but he was also completely at ease with rural people, speaking in rural idioms in his conversations. In turn, rural people were very comfortable with him and experienced his love and care.
As a friend of Jesus, Fr. Kenealy was also a friend of orphans. He adopted the orphans of Shapur as his own children, and that adoption became his lifelong commitment. In economically helping them, he did not want them to be at the subsistence level but to live dignified lives. He helped them in full measure. When any of them or their children were sick, he spared no effort to provide them with the best medical care. When they visited him, he made sure to feed them well. He spent himself for them.
After celebrating his 90th birthday on June 17, 2017, he left for a visit to the United States with the provincial of the Patna Province. Fr. Kenealy was staying with his sister in Chicago and fell ill on July 1. He remained cheerful as he underwent a series of tests, but his health took a turn on July 2, and he died peacefully that evening.