Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life Fr. Thomas D. Stegman, SJ, who was called to eternal life on April 8, 2023 at Campion Center in Weston, Massachusetts. He was 60 years old. May he rest in peace.
Tom is survived by his parents, Dennis and Kay, and his siblings (Michael, Mark, and Patricia).
Tom was born in Newton, Kansas, on January 7, 1963 and entered the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus at the Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul, Minneapolis, on August 24, 1985. He was ordained at St. Luke’s Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 9, 1995 and pronounced final vows at St. Peter’s Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 24, 2008.
Tom grew up in Holdrege, Nebraska, and attended the University of Nebraska for one year before earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary (1985). In the Society, Tom earned a master’s degree of philosophy from Marquette University (1991). He also earned a master’s of divinity (1994) and a licentiate in sacred theology (1996) from Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tom earned his doctorate in New Testament Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (2003).
During regency, Tom taught English and religion at Creighton Preparatory School (1988-1990). After earning his doctorate, Tom was a professor of New Testament at Weston School of Theology (2003-2008). After Weston became part of Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (BCSTM), he was a professor of New Testament (2008-2015) and dean of the school (2016-2022). In 2022, Tom was missioned to Campion Center in Weston to care for his health.
In addition to being respected by his colleagues and students, Tom was greatly respected by his Jesuit brothers and was elected to represent the Wisconsin Province at the 2012 Procurators Congregation in Nairobi and at the 36th General Congregation in Rome (2016). As Michael McCarthy, SJ, notes, Tom’s “legacy is tremendous, but one of the greatest gifts he left us was an example of how a Christian may approach diminishment and death: with an abiding faith and trust in God and hope in the resurrection.”
Tom was a devoted Jesuit and priest. He was grounded in prayer which nurtured his rich relationship with Jesus. His love of the Word animated every aspect of his life and fueled his passion for scholarship, the intellectual life, and the Scriptures. As a younger faculty member when he first arrived at Weston following his doctoral studies, Tom quickly came to be a valued and respected colleague. His relationship with fellow Scripture scholar, Dan Harrington, SJ, was legendary. The first (very early) 30 minutes of their work day started with coffee and conversations about sports (Tom was part-owner of the Green Bay Packers and energetic fan of the St. Louis Cardinals while Dan was all Red Sox, Bruins, and Pats) and then the next half hour or more would be Scripture.
Tom was a most effective mentor who facilitated numerous theses and dissertations, a gifted teacher, valued colleague, and respected Scripture scholar. His celebration of the sacraments and preaching were beautiful gifts which he shared easily and happily. Tom’s Midwestern roots came through in all kinds of moments from shoveling snow, to cooking hearty meals, to enjoying a beer and some brats watching a good game, and to welcoming new members of the faculty, staff, or community warmly.
He was a magnificent example of a well-lived life of fidelity to the vows and was completely dedication to the Lord and his mission. All of which was magnified and highlighted as he took on the life-ending mission of engaging cancer, asking the Servant of God Walter Ciszek to intercede on his behalf. He died as he lived — fully, faithfully, with love and humor beyond words.
Michael Boughton, SJ, shares this about Tom:
In the many rich facets of Fr Tom Stegman’s life, his foundation has always been being a disciple of Jesus Christ. He learned this as a boy in Nebraska; it has nourished his Jesuit life and priestly ministry; it shaped his New Testament scholarship, writing and teaching; it taught him how to journey as brother, companion and friend; it sustained him for over three and a half years in his battle with brain cancer. As for so many other people, it has been a great privilege for me to come to know and love this good and faithful friend of Jesus.
John Baldovin, SJ, expresses:
Tom Stegman was a truly wonderful man and friend. He was an admirable Jesuit, priest and scholar. Besides his obvious love of the Packers and the Cardinals, his great passion was Sacred Scripture and sharing the riches of the Bible with as many people as he could – students, fellow priests and religious, people in the parishes he served and children as well. Tom had a great capacity for friendship and a transparent faith in God. His living with brain cancer over these past three and a half years was remarkable and edifying. Now he rests in God’s peace.