Saturday, June 27, 2015

Jesuit Father Michael Stogre was medical doctor and theologian

FATHER MICHAEL JOSEPH STOGRE, S.J. died unexpectedly on June 24, 2015, at the Jesuit residence in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was in his 71st year of life, four days short of his birthday, he had been in religious life for 52 years.

Michael Joseph Stogre was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, June 28, 1944, the eldest of eight children of Winnifred Quinn and Alexander Stogre. He grew up in Toronto, attended St. Michael's College School and entered the Jesuits in 1962. He completed a B.A. in classics, an M.A. and a licentiate in philosophy at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.

As a Jesuit scholastic, he taught Latin and Science at Brebeuf College School, Toronto, 1969- 1970, followed by a year as program director of education for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in the Archdiocese of Toronto. During theological studies at Regis College in Toronto he completed a Master of Divinity degree, and was ordained a priest on June 8, 1974. During this period he also taught medical ethics at the St. Joseph's campus, of the George Brown College School of Nursing.

Following his studies for the priesthood, Father Stogre pursued medicine at McMaster University graduating (M.D.) with the class of 1978, which was followed by an internship at St. Joseph's Hospital, Toronto 1978- 1979. From 1979-1986 he was a staff member of the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice based in Toronto. In that capacity he 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, a treatment centre for priests and religious, 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, serving on the allocations committee of Catholic Charities of Toronto, and the ethics committee of the Catholic Children's Aid Society.

Father Stogre published a number of articles on medical ethics, the health care delivery system, Native Health, and Aboriginal Rights, gave lectures and led workshops on these topics across the country.

From 1990 until 2012 he lived at, and ministered from, the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre (ASC), on Anderson Lake, Espanola, Ontario. Among other ministries he served as visiting Pastor for a number of parishes in the Algoma—Manitoulin area and 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. In 1992, he completed a doctorate in Christian Social ethics at Ottawa’s St Paul University on Papal Social Thought and Aboriginal Rights.

In January of 2013, he was assigned to the Francis Xavier Community in Vancouver, B.C. There he worked as assistant pastor of St. Mark’s parish, which included university and hospital chaplaincies on the University of British Columbia campus.

Visitation will be at the Kearney Funeral Home 450 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver from 3-5 and 7-9PM on Monday, June 29, with the funeral celebrated at St. Mark’s Parish, 5935 Iona Drive, Vancouver at 10AM on Tuesday, June 30 (a reception to follow).  Burial that same day will be at Gardens of Gethsemane, 15800 32nd Avenue, Surrey, BC.

A memorial service will be held in Pickering, Ontario at the St. Ignatius Chapel of Manresa Retreat Centre on July 6, 2015 at 7:30PM.

Requiescat in pace.


  1. Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

    Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer


  2. Michael was my cousin--we hadn't been in touch for a couple of years, and I was absolutely shocked to find out this morning that he had died. He was, in my mind, the ultimate Jesuit--intellectually lively and well-educated, open to the world, and engaged with his faith with a passion. May he rest in peace.