Fr. Ted Stone, a key figure in the founding of IPS in 1964, passed away on January 4th at the age of 91.
According to long-time IPS professor and Aggiornamento Award recipient Peter Gilmour, Fr. Ted was a Chicago diocesan priest who worked full-time in the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) office of the archdiocese when he helped co-found IPS.
Gilmour continues: “(Fr. Ted) worked closely with Michael Gannon to shape (IPS’s) first curriculum and community character. He was one of the major teachers in the summer program in its early years. (Fr. Ted) was well known internationally, having attended many of the “International Study Weeks on Catechetics” held around the world back then. He left the priesthood, married, and after his wife’s death, returned to the priesthood.”
A recent Chicago Tribune article chronicled more specifics of Fr. Ted’s life journey:
“Stone was an associate pastor at Mary, Seat of Wisdom for 20 years, until his retirement in 2002, but continued to serve the parish in the years that followed, the archdiocese said.”
“According to the Archdiocese of Chicago, Stone requested to leave the priesthood in 1969 in order to marry. He and his wife had two children, but after her death in 1981, he looked to return to the priesthood, the archdiocese said.
In 1996, following the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, archbishop of Chicago, Stone shared with the Chicago Tribune of how he sought Bernardin’s help in resuming his vocation. According to Stone, it took seven years of interceding before the cardinal was able to get church officials in Rome to approve Stone’s reinstatement.
He kept going back and back, trying to get the authorities to allow it,” Stone was quoted as saying.”
Luca Badetti, Community Life Director at L’Arche Chicago, recently honored Fr. Ted with a L’Arche post, writing “Ted lived fatherhood in various ways: both as a priest and as a father of two…He left the active priesthood in 1969, after which he married. He fathered Tim, a beloved core member of our L’Arche community, and Bethanne, a precious friend of our community…”
In recalling the last year of Fr. Ted’s life, Badetti adds, “Even through the health effects of aging, Ted seemed to walk on earth as a “man on a mission” would. A soft-spoken and humble man, his posture, his walk, his glances and his attentiveness seemed to be directed to something – or better, Someone – much larger than himself. Ted seemed to be in this world, yet not of it.”
We – the students, faculty, staff and alumni of IPS – wish to relay our heartfelt gratitude for the life of Fr. Ted Stone and our sincerest condolences to Fr. Ted’s remaining loved ones, including daughter, Bethanne Stone; son, Timothy Stone; and sisters Mary Lippa and Dorothy Moore.