Robert Doran and Jean-Marc Laporte Receive Honorary Doctorates at 2011 Convocation

At its Novembe 2011 Convocation, Regis College joined the Jesuits in English Speaking Canada to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Jesuits in Canada by awarding recognizing the contributions of two distinguished theologians. Receiving honorary the degree of Doctor of Divinity were Fathers Robert M. Doran and Jean-Marc Laporte. Excerpts from the citations presenting the two men to those assembled at the convoation follow.

Robert M. Doran, S.J., presented by Gordon Rixon, S.J.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
                       ‐ Paul’s Letter to the Romans 5:5

Father Robert M. Doran of the Society of Jesus comes before us today as an author, scholar, teacher, mentor and advocate for the weak and vulnerable.

Trained rigorously, first in philosophy at St. Louis University and then in the more advanced science of theology at Marquette University, Father Doran has taught systematic theology for over thirty‐five years at several institutions of higher learning, including Regis College in the University of Toronto and most recently at Marquette University where he holds the Emmett Doerr Chair in Systematic Theology. He has mentored scores of students in the preparation of their theses; written six books and countless articles; served as a General Editor of Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan; demonstrated foresight as a wise trustee of Father Lonergan’s literary estate, preserving archival papers and hours of recorded lectures; and provided global access to this extraordinary intellectual patrimony through the use of contemporary technologies.

In his writing and teaching, Father Doran has contemplated the core mysteries of the Christian faith. With the modesty appropriate to a theologian, he has shared some hypothetical, imperfect, analogical, obscure and gradually developing understanding of the salvation of the world in Christ crucified and risen, the beauty of the processions of the Trinity, the invisible and visible missions of the Holy Spirit and the Word. In the person of Robert Doran, theology has regained its stride toward encompassing synthesis.

Beyond his far‐reaching accomplishment as a well‐respected scholar and educator within the academy, Father Doran is a man of social perception and public eloquence, well formed in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, one who contemplates beauty and acts for justice. In 1990, alert to the plight of those afflicted with HIV – AIDS and their caregivers, Bob responded with a pastor’s fidelity and grace. Bob’s generosity and creativity are not confined to the printed word.

Today, as we remember the 400th anniversary of our company’s arrival in what we have come to know as Canada, we celebrate the beauty and goodness of God’s love poured out in the life of our brother Jesuit.

Jean-Marc Laporte, S.J., presented by Joseph Schner, S.J.

Jean-Marc Laporte was born in Edmunston, New Brunswick and his early education was in this context of French and English Canadian culture.  His secondary and post secondary education was at Loyola High School and Loyola College in Montreal.  He followed his Loyola BA by earning an MA in philosophy at the Université de Montréal.  After this he entered the Society of Jesus on August 14, 1958, my entry date as well….

After the novitiate, Jean-Marc pursued his philosophical studies at Mount St. Michael in Spokane, Washington, and followed this by teaching at Campion College…

Following his Prairie adventures, he began his life-long romance with Regis College:  first as a theology student, ordained in 1967. After graduate studies at the Faculté Catholique of the Université de Strasbourg where he presented his thesis, L’homme renové par la grace, he returned to Regis in 1971, as a professor of systematic theology, an appointment he held for the next 31 years… At Regis Jean-Marc served as dean and president. He was instrumental in the move from 3425 Bayview in Willowdale to 15 St. Mary St. in downtown Toronto where he helped in the design of the new facilities and in the addition of a second building, Elliott MacGuigan Hall.  During his presidency he was part of the negotiations that affiliated the college through the Toronto School of Theology with the University of Toronto.  His scholarly work continued during this time and he published his work on grace, Patience and Power, as well as a large number of articles on theological anthropology, Christology, the Trinity and ecumenism.

In 1992 Jean-Marc became the Director of the Toronto School of Theology at a time when, as Dr. Alan Hayes, the present director, records, there was a great need for renewal and stability.  This Jean-Marc accomplished with an even hand…

In 2000 Jean-Marc was appointed by the General of the Society of Jesus, as the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in English Canada.  In this ministry he fostered the work of the Society throughout Canada, developed a plan for the future of the Province, and began strengthening ties with the Jesuits in French Canada.  As Provincial and Chancellor of Regis he discerned and then enabled the move of the College from his dearly loved 15 St. Mary St. to this inviting building at 100 Wellesley St…

One might think that all of these diverse labours would be more than enough, but all during his time at Regis, as Director of TST, and then as Provincial Superior, Jean-Marc ministered throughout Canada as a spiritual director, retreat giver, and parish priest, as well as professor in the Jesuit theologate in Africa.  He is now the director of the Jesuit Centre of spirituality and priest-in-charge of St. Patrick’s parish in Halifax and the web-master of the Canadian site on orientation to Ignatian spirituality.

Regis College is the Jesuit School of Theology at the University of Toronto.