Jesuit Father Michael Stogre died on June 24, 2015, at the Jesuit house in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was 71 years old, four days short of his birthday, and in religious life for 52 years.
Fr. Stogre was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on June 28, 1944. He was the eldest of eight children of Winnifred Quinn and Alexander Stogre. He grew up in Toronto attending St. Michael’s College School and then entered the Jesuits in 1962. He completed a B.A. in classics, an M.A. and Licentiate in philosophy at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, 1968-1969.
During his regency, he taught Latin and science at Brebeuf College School in Toronto (1969- 1970). This was followed by a year as program director of education for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in the Archdiocese of Toronto. He then moved on to theological studies at Regis College in Toronto. There Fr. Stogre completed a Master of Divinity degree, and was ordained a priest on June 8, 1974. During this period he taught medical ethics at the St. Joseph’s campus, of the George Brown College School of Nursing.
Following studies for the priesthood, he pursued medicine at McMaster University graduating (M.D.) with the class of 1978. This was followed by an internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Toronto 1978- 979. From 1979-1986 he was a staff member of the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice based in Toronto. In that capacity worked with Amnesty International’s Medical group examining political refugees, represented the Jesuits on the Aboriginal Rights Coalition and the Ontario Health Coalition. For two years he served on the board of Southdown and its medical therapy committee.
While working at the Jesuit Social Centre he assisted the Rama Indian Band in starting a health clinic on their reserve, served on their Health and Welfare committee for six years, and worked on a number of environmental health issues in northern Ontario and in Toronto, (e.g., lead contamination in Riverdale, radium pollution in Scarborough and Serpent River). Other involvements included working with the pastoral team of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in preparation for the papal visit of 1984 and serving on the allocations committee of Catholic Charities of Toronto and the ethics committee of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society.
He has published a number of articles on medical ethics, the health care delivery system, Native health, and Aboriginal rights. He has given lectures and workshops on these topics across the country.
From 1990 until 2012 he lived and worked out of the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre on Anderson Lake, Espanola, Ontario. Among other ministries he has served as visiting pastor for a number of parishes in the Algoma-Manitoulin area. He also served on the United Chiefs and Council of Manitoulin’s Health board, which negotiated the transfer of health services from the federal government to the control of the local communities. He also served a five-year stint as director of the ASC. He completed a doctorate in Christian Social ethics in 1992 at the University of St. Paul in Ottawa on Papal Social Thought and Aboriginal Rights.
In January of 2013, Fr. Stogre was assigned to the Francis Xavier Community in Vancouver, B.C. There he worked as assistant pastor of St. Mark’s Parish. This ministry included university and hospital chaplaincy on the U.B.C. Campus. Fr. Stogre was well loved and appreciated wherever he served. He was respected as highly intelligent, interested and competent in so many things. He was ever curious and a person with a deep commitment to social justice.