June 2, 2021
In Memoriam Rev. Robert J. Schreiter, C.PP.S.
To the CTU Community:
The CTU Community grieves profoundly the loss of our long-time colleague and world-renowned scholar, Robert Schreiter, C.PP.S. Bob joined the CTU faculty in 1974 and his outstanding contributions are too numerous to list. His work on Reconciliation, in particular, was unparalleled, both in his international accompaniment of Church leaders in peacebuilding and in teaching standing-room-only crowds of students every year.
Bob served as Vice President and Academic Dean for nine years and was instrumental in founding CTU’s DMin. Program. His vision and wisdom also shaped the Bernardin Center, as its founding Director. These are only a fraction of his unparalleled contributions to CTU. As we mourn this great loss, we pray that Bob now will be enjoying the fullness of God’s love for all eternity.
Sr. Barbara Reid, OP, President
He was my professor in 2006. He transformed me to be able to see with a different lens. That all things that we may believe tragic may not be for those, who survive the chaos of the evils of war. Survivors see hope, and I quote, “the birds are singing, children are playing, and the sun is shining among the rubbles.” His wisdom opens my eyes to understand the need to build communion before you act on behalf of those you want to serve and understand that it takes time to reconcile those wounds.
Marilu Gonzalez, MAPS, ’09
Dr. Bob Schreiter had the gift of connecting with his students. I remember listening to him in my Christology class in awe. However,, his brilliant mind did not prevent him from sitting with us during our breaks. He was sincerely interested in my family. My son Matthew was serving in the United States Marines at that time. He was in Okinawa. Bob traveled to Japan frequently and continued to ask about Matthew. His prayers meant a great deal to me. A humble soul, he made the world a better place. I feel blessed to have known him.
Nancy Biancalana-Kerstein, MAPS, ’16
I was in Fr. Shreiter’s Christology and Culture course. I was very inexperienced, having grown up with the rules and not the reasons for the rules. He taught me to see what I believed, examine that belief through study, and be at peace with the questions. That process has guided me as I mentor students and continue to learn what it means to believe.
Noreen Cameron, Certificate in Pastoral Studies, ’84
Bob was an incredible person and educator. I loved his stories during class and still tell some to students. As a young man from rural Iowa with little understanding of what o was doing in a graduate program, it was inspiring to be taught and advised by a world-renowned scholar who himself had rural roots.
Jacob Kohlhaas, MA, ’06
I had the honor of meeting Bob on his first trip to Peru, where his presentation on Reconciliation was a great help for the government’s Truth and ReconciliationReconciliation Commission. I chose to pursue the D.Min program (2007-9) at CTU precisely to work more closely with him. Bob was not only my mentor and best professor but mainly a good friend, and each year when I returned to the States I would look him up. I hope that his many “disciples” can continue the great work which he began.
Mateo Garr, S.J., DMin, ’09
What he taught, what I retained, and how often I quote him renders him my best professor.
Fr. Schreiter posited that when we accompany the dead for the Liturgy of Christian Burial that the same ceremony is going on with the cloud of witnesses, the choir of angels and saints, and God Himself, to receive the person. As a funeral director, I often mention that at the funeral home before departing for Church.
+Requiesce in pace.
Robert Moynihan, Mdiv, ’03
I remember one particular time at the end of the semester, and Bob was always quick to bow out the side door and avoid any accolades. Before he could disappear, a student stood up and proclaimed that we all needed to raise our hands in blessing for our Brother Bob. With that, the whole class stood and prayed a blessing over him. I’m sure he was dying inside, but he stood there and let us bless him. His humility in his great service to peacebuilding will remain with me. He was a humble servant. Blessed are the peacemakers, Brother Bob! We are better for knowing you.
Diane Mercadante, DMin, ’19, MA,’12
It’s hard to believe that 20+years have passed since I was privileged to be a part of the CTU community. I still hold wonderful memories close to my heart of the learning, growth, spirit, and outstanding faculty at CTU, including attending class & reading Fr. Bob’s inspiring works. I have no doubt he will be sorely missed. He has left a legacy that will continue to educate, inspire and help form great leaders for our Church into the future. May he now enjoy the peace, joy, unconditional love, and beauty of God’s kingdom. RIP, Dear Fr. Bob
Sr. Catia Conterno, SMS, MAPS, ’97
Early in his 2014 Christology and Culture class, Professor Schreiter stated: “As you move deeper into the study of Jesus, it will change your view of divinity and humanity.” I came to the course trying to fit Jesus of Nazareth into my preconceived notion of who God is, and I left the course realizing that I had to turn it around and comprehend that Jesus of Nazareth revealed who God is. This understanding radically changed my view of divine power, and so I can say that Professor Schreiter radically changed my relationship with God.
Susan Carlson, Mdiv, ’20
My thoughts and prayer from Vietnam to dearly beloved Rev. Father Robert J. Schreiter, C.PP.S, who has been born in eternity:
Father Bob left me (his student at CTU) with the dearest memories. He taught me 02 classes and was one of 03 members of my graduation examination evaluation group. For me, Father Bob was a gentleman, a wholeheartedly good Shepherd, a wide-knowledged teacher, a friendly and helpful companion. He was a God-given gift for me and those who had ever met with him.
In the sphere of ministry, Father Bob brought me the fire of enthusiastic love in the ministry of learning and teaching of Christ in the Holy Gospel, in the ecclesiastical magisterium, and cultures.
I am able to say about Fr. Bob that he was a wide-learned scholar of Catholic faith and culture, constructing methods of local theologies to bridge Christian faith and cultures.
Still remembering his word regarding the Church’s ministry of preaching, teaching, celebrating, and serving in a multi-culture world. Fr. Bob taught me that I need to have “what Raymond Facelina has called “a listening heart” to listen to culture before trying to speak to it, to hear Christ in a culture, to discover its principal values, needs, interests, directions, and symbols.” (Constructing Local Theologies, 1985).
Fr. Bob’s teaching of hearing and recognition of Christ in a culture and then telling it about Christ still echoes in my mind.
Thank you, Father Bob, for your being and all that you did for me during my student time at CTU.
Father Bob Schreiter, you are loved and missed!
May our loving God welcome you to the eternal banquet and let you rest in peace and love of the Holy Trinity!
Joseph Thang Nguyen, SSS, MA, ’18
RIP my dear beloved Bob! You have been one of my favorite instructors! Thanks for sharing your wisdom to many! You have gone, but you will be alive and known all over the world through your CTU. Students! Also, you will be forever remembered in our thoughts and prayers! Rest in Peace!
FR. Frandry TAMAR, CS, Mdiv, ’10
Prof Schreiter, as I affectionately called him, was a Saint incarnate. His death is a great loss to humanity and the entire CTU family. Prof Schreiter stands out in his delivery and personal interactions. We in Ghana were heartbroken on hearing of his demise. We believe that the good Lord loaned him to us in this transient life for a task he had faithfully accomplished. May your good works follow you, Bob. We trust that God has a far better appointment for you in eternity. Rest peacefully in the bosom of the Lord till we meet again. Prof Schreiter, “Damirifa Due! Onyankopon mfa wo nsie”
Rev Major Noah Boahen, MA, ’15
I pay my respect to Bob for enlightening me and thousands of others along the way with his writings, his teaching, his insightfulness, and extraordinary ability to articulate and reflect on God’s justice and presence in the world around us, with us, and within us. His insights and writings on peacebuilding, Reconciliation, racism and healing (among others) are most helpful for mission and ministry, most especially in the world we live in today. Like all of the CTU, professors that I was privileged to study with, Bob was a part of the CTU experience, which was for me and others, a truly transformative experience. Thank you, Bob, for all you have given to the Church and all of God’s people. You will be dearly missed.
Anna Alicia Chavez, MA, ’09
I will always remember his grace-filled smile, sagacious knowledge of the Church, Tradition, and intricacies of our faith, in addition to his amazing pastoral presence. May he be welcomed by his fellow servants along the journey, including his profound influencer and great mentor Edward Schillebeeckx–those women and men who have gone before him in building up the reign of God here on earth. Requiescat in pace, mi amice!
Andrew Nicholas Cirillo, Mdiv, ’17, MA, ’21
Fr. Bob was one of my favorite professors and priests at CTU. I am very grateful and deeply touched up to now to recall his very kind and thoughtful gesture of filing an extension for me at the registrar’s office. I did not request it, but he just initiated it, so I have enough time to finish my paperwork in his class. No graduate school teacher and priest ever did that to me in the past when I was doing my graduate studies in the Philippines. Only Fr. Bob, only at CTU.
Thank you also for your great legacy in the Spirituality of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
One striking insight that stayed with me in one of his lectures when he shared his advice towards victims and survivors of violence and abuse was when he said, “Save yourself, don’t sacrifice your life…Jesus already died for you. Jesus’ sacrifice is more than enough.” This is indeed true. That advice has somehow shaped my bold decision to end a dehumanizing and abusive relationship.
Thank your Fr. Bob. Rest in peace.
Lanie Mae Becher, MA, ’13
Bob made significant contributions to the Center for the Study of Religious Life at CTU, especially his presentation on the future of religious life at the Center’s opening in June 1998 and his work as a project consultant for the development of the Cultural Audit. I appreciate his vision and insight, generosity and humility, and most of all, his compassion. His life was an expression of the charism of the Precious Blood community.
Sister Barbara Kraemer, OSF, Former CSCL Director
Though I never experienced the pleasure or reward of having Fr. Bob Schreiter as an instructor, he was nonetheless a tremendous personal mentor to me as a missionary and as a person of faith and hope.
Fr. Bob always took a personal interest in my efforts as a Maryknoll missioner and offered his support and encouragement whenever we had occasion to meet. His insights and incredible breadth of knowledge on mission have profoundly impacted my work and the work of many of my Maryknoll colleagues. He played significant public and backstage roles in the centennial celebration of the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers held at CTU in Fall 2011. It was with deep sadness that I learned of his passing.
I know, however, that his work and legacy will long continue through the countless lives he has touched in his career as a gifted writer, scholar and missionary and, most of all, through the warmth of heart and graciousness of spirit that he so generously extended to all.
Gregory Darr, Former CTU Board Member
I first met Bob Schreiter when I worked at the National Pastoral Life Center, and we had him for a diocesan conference. I had the pleasure to host him during the engagement.
His thoughtfulness, generosity, and compassion demonstrated to me how he lived the virtues present in his work on Reconciliation that I only had the opportunity to read about otherwise. I mourn a significant loss for our Church and our world.
Peter Denio, student
So sad. In 1978 he had that great colorful poster in his office, “Ski Nebraska.”
At lunch one day II tried to defend Matthew Fox’s book “On Becoming a Magical Mystical Bear” as serious theology. Bob thought I was joking. I made him laugh. I loved the guy! I was the only lay guy at CTU. at the time. He always made me feel welcome.
I now work with two true Precious Blood Brothers. Bob’s spirit is alive and well.
Jim White, MA, ’86
I was Dean of Students from 1987-82 while Bob served as Academic Dean. This news of his death came as a deep shock. During the years we worked together, we interacted almost daily. We were so young then -both of us still in our 20’s. But, we also managed to connect sporadically over the intervening decades and get caught up on major developments in our lives. The last time was several years ago in San Diego. We had a deep conversation about our spiritual lives and laughed about our younger foibles and the shared competitive spirit that flared when we had policy debates and disagreements. Of course,, Bob could debate circles around me and usually won. Ialways learned a lot through the process, however…Underneath it all, we shared deep affection and respect for one another. It is comforting to already sense his alive presence as an ally beyond the veil.
Terri Monroe, RSCJ, Former Academic Dean
Bob Schreiber was a very well-renowned international professor, a very humble and compassionate missionary, a listener, and he was aware of the Catholic Church’s historical context all over the world…Bob was a great asset and resource for the Christian Church in the world. I enjoyed his courses at CT U, my Alma mater, and I took all his courses, and he directed my DMin thesis…I was saddened by his death, and may he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him…All my prayers for the Precious Blood community and the CTU. family.
Fr. Kamanzi Pascal Kasanziki, DMin, ’13, Pastor of Saint Anthony Parish, Missoula, Montana
Bob was brilliant! He never ‘settled’ in his renown. During my studies (MTS, 1981), Bob provided outstanding leadership in always recreating the course offerings based on the most recent theological directions. It was always amazing that he could ask pertinent questions when he taught about cultural perspectives on his highly developed theology, providing to all a much wider and deeper understanding of the subject. He was also a guy who knew what was going on among students, never losing touch. In my second year at CTU, there was a move to have student representation with the class president, VP, etc. One of the Spiritans made a life-size doll named Amazing Grace who would show up at parties all the time. “She” ran for student body president and lost only by a hair. Just before graduation, Bob asked to see Grace. There had been a rumor that she was set to graduate. Instead, Grace spent our graduation locked in Bob’s closet, but she showed up for the gathering afterward!
Marie Sweeney, MTS, ’81
It’s hard for me to express the impact he has had on me as a thinker and a person. He was a fantastic professor, a brilliant mind, a caring person, and a beloved family friend. He con-celebrated at our wedding, and he baptized all three of our children. I cannot fathom how much he accomplished in his life and career. His courses on Reconciliation were rightly famous, and his lectures always had ministry and mission at the forefront of his mind.
I recently finished a chapter on Harry Potter and Christian theology, and I used Bob’s work on Reconciliation. Bob, to me, was just like Dumbledore, wise and brilliant and patient and funny and kind. Here’s a passage on something I learned from Bob: “The path of Reconciliation follows a trusted guide with whom one learns to tell the story of one’s trauma until a larger perspective emerges. With the right guide who fashions for us a protective circle of love, we can tell our story over and over again until any limiting beliefs of trauma and sadness are lifted, and we are liberated to be agents of Reconciliation for others.”
There are so many of his stories that I use in my classes. One of my favorite memories is simply after I was (illegally) arrested by the Chicago police following a protest against the 2003 Iraq War. Bob spent hours with me, letting me talk about that traumatic night, providing compassionate insight. I felt silly, given the stories of suffering he’s witnessed over the years, but he reassured me, “This is your story,” and I felt validated and heard.
As a thinker,, he gave me a love for cross-cultural dialogue, and he deepened my love of the Catholic Church. He will be deeply missed by Catholic theologians, the Church, and his thousands of students.
Daniel Scheid, MA, ’04
I loved Bob’s teaching, his breadth of outlook and his ability to integrate disparate strands of knowledge. When I returned from overseas, I was delighted to audit his History of the Church in 2012. I have kept that book and refer to it for various occasions since then.
Constance Dryden, RSCJ, MA,’95