Accomplished professor, compassionate counselor leaves a legacy

Father Robert Mallonee, 1936-2020


Father Robert Mallonee SVD, a past dean of students at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago, died on June 11 at Techny, Ill., at the age of 83.

“He left a tremendous spiritual inheritance to the parishioners of St. Joseph’s in Kingston, Mass., and with the many retreatants and spiritual directees that he walked with through many years,” said Father Thomas Umbras SVD, executive director of the Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center.

The two priests lived and worked together for many years at Miramar Retreat Center in Duxbury, Mass.

“He was a perceptive and compassionate listener to people’s daily struggles,” Father Umbras said. “He was especially fond of the men’s recovery groups who found in Father Bob a nonjudgmental and authentic human being who embraced their sufferings and helped them carry their wounds. Father Bob sometimes mentioned how these men’s recovery groups gave him tremendous energy and purpose and how he looked forward to each and every weekend retreat with them. These men responded to him with equal affection. This is how he will be remembered.”

Born in Newark, Ohio, in 1936, Robert Mallonee was the only child of John Mallonee and Mary Morin (Burton Brown). At age 22, he received his bachelor’s degree in history from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Mass., and entered the Society of the Divine Word.

A man with a thirst for learning, he often pursued more than one discipline at a time. While still a seminarian, he served as a lecturer of history at Divine Word College in Miramar, Mass. While studying theology at Divine Word Seminary at Techny, he worked on a master’s degree in history from Loyola University in Chicago. Later, he earned a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral counseling while serving as associate professor of Pastoral Care at CTU in Chicago.

Father Mallonee professed vows in 1962 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1967. For his first assignment, he held a dual role as director of the library and director of the Pastoral Program at Divine Word Seminary at Techny. During this time, he also completed another master’s degree—this one in library science from Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, Ill.

In 1971 at age 35, he became an associate professor of Pastoral Care and the following year was appointed dean of students at CTU, assisting students from nine religious congregations. During his 16-year tenure at CTU, he was invited to serve a year as a visiting professor in Pastoral Care at Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay City, Philippines.

He returned to Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay in 1985 as director of the Arnoldus Library and lecturer in Pastoral Psychology and co-founded the Philippine Theological Library Association.

In 1990, he was assigned to Miramar Retreat Center, where he served as a spiritual director and counselor for more than 25 years.

Father Mallonee moved to Techny in 2017. He is survived by cousins and his Divine Word confreres.
A wake and funeral Mass were held in the Divine Word Residence Chapel at Techny on June 16, followed by burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for the care of elderly and infirmed missionaries may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Rd., P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.


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