Jesuit Father Daniel L. Flaherty was born on July 29, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on August 21, 1947, at Milford, Ohio. He was ordained on June 12, 1960, at West Baden College in West Baden, Indiana, and took final vows on February 2, 1965, at America House in New York.
Before entering the Society, Father Flaherty graduated from St. Ignatius High School in Chicago (1947). As a Jesuit, he earned a bachelor's degree in classics (1952) and a master's degree in philosophy (1957) from Loyola University Chicago. He earned licentiate degrees in philosophy (1954) and sacred theology (1961) from West Baden College. He also studied communications at Northwestern University in Chicago (summer of 1958 and 1959).
During regency, Father Flaherty taught Latin and Greek and was the moderator of the student council, the yearbook, and the drama club at St. Ignatius High School in Chicago (1954-1957). After ordination, he moved to New York where he worked at America Magazine as a book editor (1962-1965), executive editor (1965-1971), and business manager (1968-1971). During his time in New York, he was also on the Catholic Book Club Board (1962-1971) and was Chairman of the Catholic Book Club Board (1968-1971).
After moving back to Chicago in 1971, he was the executive editor of Loyola University Press and the first editor/publisher of the National Jesuit News (1971-1973). Father Flaherty was the provincial of the Chicago Province from 1973-1979. During his provincialate, he was a delegate at General Congregation 32 (1974-1975). In 1979, Father Flaherty returned to Loyola University Press where he was associate director (1979-1981) and director (1981-1989).
Father Flaherty then spent 20 years as treasurer of the Chicago Province (1989-2009). In addition to working in the province office, he was the acting superior of the Jesuit community at Canisius House from 2003-2011. In 2009 Father Flaherty left the province office and focused his energies on writing. He moved to Colombiere Center in 2011 to care for his health.
Father Flaherty was on the board of trustees for: the University of Detroit Mercy (1970-1973; chair 1972-1973); Loyola University Chicago (1971-1973, 1979-1985, 1986-2010; vice-chair 1972-1973 and 1979-1985); Loyola University New Orleans (1979-1985 and 1987-1993); Loyola Academy in Wilmette (1980-1986); Loyola University Medical Center (1985-2011); St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago (1989-1992); and Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (1990-1993).
Many Jesuits have particular stories of Father Flaherty from a personal conversation, province gathering, or professional meeting. He infused all these encounters with his love of Jesuit life and lore, his trenchant analysis of issues, his hearty laugh, and his deep affection for the Society and each one of us.
True Irishman that he was (the rose garden at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago is named in honor of his dad), Father Flaherty loved to sing almost anything but, especially Irish tunes. His love of poetry and classical literature was amazing and his capacity to cite texts remarkable. He was a skilled editor in addition to being a creative writer.
While Father Flaherty was a book editor of America Magazine, he helped Fr. Walter Ciszek write/edit his books: With God in Russia: The Inspiring Classic Account of a Catholic Priest's Twenty-three Years in Soviet Prisons and Labor Camps and He Leadeth Me. These books enabled countless people to become aware of Walter Ciszek and his struggles in Soviet prisons and labor camps as well as to realize the courage and hope that can be found in prayer. Father Flaherty and Walter became good friends as a result; a friendship Father Flaherty cherished throughout his life. Click here to read an America Magazine article in which Father Flaherty reflects on helping to write With God in Russia.
During his provincialate years, Father Flaherty had the wisdom and creativity to mission younger Jesuits to leadership and governance, thereby renewing the Society and preparing the next generation of leaders for our works and communities. He often saw more in these men than they did in themselves. Father Flaherty is the reason St. Ignatius College Prep survived. He appointed one of these younger men to take on the presidency at SICP and turn things around in dramatic fashion.
Father Flaherty's energy, vision, and love of the Gospel were marvelous to behold. Father Flaherty was often moved to tears when he celebrated the Eucharist with great devotion. He and Fr. Pedro Arrupe had a special relationship during Father Flaherty's provincialate, and, when Don Pedro died in 1991, Father Flaherty travelled to Rome to attend his funeral.