Father Thomas Gillin dies at 88

Jesuit Father Thomas M. Gillin (Miscellany/File)

Jesuit Father Thomas M. Gillin (Miscellany/File)NEW ORLEANS—Jesuit Father Thomas Marion Gillin of the New Orleans Province died Sept. 17 at West Jefferson Hospital. Father Gillin was 88 years old, a Jesuit for 71 years, and a priest for 58.

The funeral Mass was Sept. 22 at the Chapel of Our Lady of Wisdom in New Orleans and burial was at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau.

A native of New Orleans, Father Gillin was born Sept. 8, 1922, a son of the late Joseph Patrick and Ethel O’Reilly Gillin. He entered the Jesuits on Aug. 14, 1939, after graduating from Jesuit High School.

He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Spring Hill College in 1946 and his theology degree from St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s, Kan., in 1953.

He was ordained in 1952.

Father Gillin worked in many schools, including Jesuit High in Shreveport, his alma mater; and Jesuit High School in El Paso, Texas. He also served as assistant director of Manresa House of Retreats in Convent, La., assistant director and then director of Our Lady of the Oaks in Grand Coteau and others.

He was responsible for the reconstruction of Our Lady of the Oaks after a fire on Aug. 17, 1965.
Father Gillin served in parish ministry at churches in El Paso; Augusta, Ga.; Miami; and Mobile, Ala.

In the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., he founded two parishes: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Mauldin in 1972, then St. John Neumann in Columbia in 1977, staying there until 1984. He went on to found a church in Spring, Texas.
He returned to South Carolina in 1989 and served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta and pastor of St. Gerard in Aiken.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 he was the chaplain of Malta Square Residence in New Orleans. In 2006 the priest was missioned to pray for the church and the Society of Jesus.

Father Gillin is survived by his Jesuit community.

Memorial donations may be made to: The Society of Jesuits, 710 Baronne Street, Suite B, New Orleans, LA 70113.