Jesuit Fr. William F. Prospero, SJ, died on September 8, 2014, surrounded by family members and close Jesuit friends at the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wis. He was 49 years old, a Jesuit for 27 years, and a priest for 16 years.
Born on August 4, 1965, in Wauwatosa, Fr. Prospero attended St. Jude’s Grade School, Marquette University High School, and Marquette University before entering the Society of Jesus at the Jesuit Novitiate of Alberto Hurtado in St. Paul, Minn., in 1987. Father Prospero studied humanities and philosophy while at Campion House at Creighton University in Omaha. He completed his theology studies at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Massachusetts, was ordained a priest on June 12, 1998, made tertianship in Milford, Ohio, and professed final vows on September 30, 2007.
Father Prospero taught at Holy Rosary Mission on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakora for regency. After ordination, he continued ministry to the Lakota people through the retreat and lay formation ministries of the Sioux Spiritual Center in Plainview, S.D. (1998–2000).
From 2000 to 2006, Fr. Prospero worked in Marquette University’s Campus Ministry. For some of those years, he also served as the province director of the Apostleship of Prayer (2004–06). Father Prospero brought his skills as a campus minister to the students of Central Michigan University, where he served as pastor of St. Mary’s University Parish in Mt. Pleasant (2006–12). His efforts to integrate the university students into the regular life of the parish continue to give life to the parish and larger Church. Father Prospero’s work with young people and the formation of church leaders also benefited the men of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., many of whom he served as spiritual director (2012–13). Health issues brought Fr. Prospero to St. Camillus Jesuit Community and back to his hometown in 2013.
For Fr. Prospero, faith in Christ offered light for the path. A true son of St. Ignatius of Loyola, he dedicated his life to the Roman Catholic Church, defending her doctrines and traditions. As a Jesuit, he relied upon the principles of Ignatian spiritual discernment to guide many college students and young adults in the faith, helping many to hear God's call to religious life and priesthood.
Taken by illness before his time, he walked the way of the cross alongside his Savior with patience and faithful hope in the resurrection. He will be remembered for his love of the Church and her people, his love of family and friends, his generous spirit, his self-effacing humor, his special devotion to Our Lady, his faithful exercise of the ministerial priesthood, and his humble stance of prayerfulness before God and others.
Memorial gifts may be made to The Jesuits, 2050 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614.
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