Jesuit Father Robert L. McDevitt died after a brief illness on September 10, 2014, in Regis Infirmary at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 88.
Fr. McDevitt was born in Los Angeles on May 2, 1926, the only child of Lewis T. and Mary P. McDevitt. He attended Loyola High School and served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific (1944-46). He attended Loyola University for a year before entering the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos on September 7, 1947.
Following studies there and at Gonzaga University, Fr. McDevitt taught U.S. history and civics at St. Ignatius High School, San Francisco (1954-56) and Loyola High School, Los Angeles (1956-57). He studied theology at Alma College in Los Gatos, and was ordained a priest at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood on June 9, 1960.
Fr. McDevitt’s ministry for many years was in the high school classroom at Loyola High School, teaching religion and offering spiritual counseling (1962-73). He then went into retreat work and spiritual direction. Based in Southern California, he gave retreats and conferences to high school groups, women religious and others all over the West.
He also served in parish ministry at Jesuit churches in Santa Barbara and San Francisco. In 2001, he moved to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, where he continued his ministry in semi-retirement.
Fr. McDevitt was known for his gentleness, generosity, common sense, good balance, zeal and prudence. His sensitive spiritual counsel brought comfort and direction to many. He was also known for his love of music from the Big Band era and his ardent devotion to Notre Dame football. “Coach” McDevitt never missed a televised game.
A notable characteristic of Fr. McDevitt was gratitude. Some years ago, he noted, “Since the day I entered the novitiate, I have felt it an honor to be part of the Society. After almost 32 years, I still stand in awe of the wonderful men who make our brotherhood. I am still humbled when I think of the confidence (Superiors) put in me when (they) appointed me (to various positions).”
Fr. McDevitt is survived by cousins Michael McDevitt, of Half Moon Bay, and Michael Huston, of Saratoga.