David Asselin, S.J. was born in 1922 and died in 1972. Today, David is being remembered by his family for his contributions to the Catholic Church, the Jesuit Fathers in English Canada and Regis College.
David completed his high school studies and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola College in Montreal. Artistically inclined with an appreciation for classical music, art and literature, David also cultivated his exceptional talent in public speaking and drama.
After his two years of novitiate he completed one year of classics at Guelph, followed by two years of philosophy at the Jesuit Seminary (Regis College) in Toronto. He followed the customary three years of teaching: two at Saint Mary's High School, Halifax, and one at Loyola in Montreal.
In 1950, David began theological studies at the Jesuit Seminary in Toronto (Regis College) and was ordained to the priesthood in Montreal on 23 June 1953. A final year in spiritual theology was completed in 1954-55 at Wépion, Belgium.
In 1955, Father David was assigned to teach theology and direct the student chaplaincy at Loyola College in Montreal. As a teacher he showed the acumen that would have led superiors to assign him to graduate studies in theology, but to fill an important need he was named, in 1961, as spiritual director of the Jesuit scholastics at Regis College in Toronto. It was in this capacity that David made a unique contribution to Catholic spirituality in North America and subsequently in other parts of the world.
It was in February of 1969 that neurologists diagnosed a malignant brain tumour. The last two years of David's life were a period of suffering, both physical and mental, yet the suffering that he endured with Christian fortitude was a source of edification for all and especially the young Jesuits at Regis College, who witnessed his lingering illness and eventual death.
Today, Father David's family is memorializing his gifts to the Society of Jesus in Canada by establishing a Chair in Ignatian Spirituality at Regis College.
Through the dedicated work of his niece, Martha Asselin, the family has raised in excess of $600,000.
But how was this made possible?
Martha, committed to the principles of Spiritual Direction, engaged members of the Asselin Family across Canada and the United States in a campaign to establish the Chair.
The Asselin Chair, in memory of David, recognizes the great contribution of David's life work to the world. To date, family members in Calgary, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto and San Francisco have made gifts to the Chair.