Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Robert H. Schmidt, SJ, who died on September 26th, 2017, in Patna, India. He was 79 years old.
Bob was the name chosen by Fr. Robert Henry Schmidt, S.J. because he understood himself primarily as a human person who loved people and also enjoyed being loved by them. In this experience he found God and discovered his identity as a Jesuit priest.
Born July 26, 1938 in East Cleveland, Ohio in the USA to Albert and Catherine J Schmidt, Bob inherited his intelligence and capacity for organization from his father who was of German stock. Bob’s loving nature came mainly from his mother who was of Irish origin. These great qualities of head and heart together with handsome looks endeared Bob to people and helped him hold a number of important responsibilities in the Jesuit society.
He entered the Jesuits at the Milford Novitiate, Milford, Ohio, in 1956, was ordained March 18, 1969, and professed his final vows on August 15, 1976.
As a formator who was the Director of the Juniorate, the Province Coordinator for Formation [PCF] and the Superior of the Regional Theology Centre [RTC], Bob had a great knack for accepting young Jesuits and making them feel welcome and loved in his presence. He was a positive person who saw the good in scholastics and encouraged and appreciated them.
Bob worked hard to prepare his classes and to meticulously correct the assignments of those in formation. His life as a teacher and formator was truly a labour of love. He guided and lead the scholastics through the example of his life. He was a cheerful and inspiring religious who was faithful and committed to the Society of Jesus and the Church. As a PCF and Province Consultor he showed himself to be a capable organizer who planned for the future with vision and openness.
In his ministry of renewing people through spiritual direction and counseling, Bob proved to be a keen and compassionate listener healing the people he counselled. His sharp intelligence, person-centredness and empathy empowered religious and priests to come to grips and deal with their inner struggles.
As an enlightened Superior of the Regional Theology Centre and Atmadarshan, a centre for Counselling and Spirituality, Bob did an excellent job. He was a man of prayer and practical wisdom and systematic in his thinking and action. Hence, he communicated with conviction, clarity and kindness. He was a community man and team person who created an atmosphere which increased the synergy of the Jesuit staff members so that they implemented their mission with commitment and creativity.
In 2011 Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. However, he continued to perform his duties as a member of the staff of Atmadarshan. His deep faith and prayerful spirit which nourished his apostolic life now helped him accept the cross in sickness and suffering. In March 2016 Bob moved to XTTI because his health had deteriorated further.
As is the custom in India, Bob’s funeral Mass and burial occurred the day after his death.
“For freedom, Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1).
Bob, our brother and friend in the depths of our grief we rejoice with you as you enjoy total freedom with God in eternity beyond history. - Fr. Dionysius Rasquinha, SJ