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  • Thoughts from Fr. Rog

    Fathers Gillis and Bayard
    L-R Fr. Roger Gillis, S.J. and Fr. Mike Bayard, S.J.

    Dear Friends –
    Since the full knowledge of my cancer became known to everyone I have been overcome by the positive notes and visits and to a certain extent, the overwhelmingness shouldn’t be surprising because I was bowled over by the realization of how much I am loved.  Part of the reason for feeling overwhelmed was also because I was realizing just how much I am loved – loved so deeply. (I am never surprised how good and beautiful you are, realizing that about myself was more difficult.  But the two go together!) This confirms that when I am in touch with the Holy Spirit, I believe and act out of love. 

     It is not always easy to love ourselves. On the other hand, it is easy for me to love all of you.  It isn’t too tricky, because if you love other people, they’ll love you back!  My apostolic mission at S.U. has been to love other people.  I open up a card and you would thank me for something I did – and you reminded me of it.  But lovers don’t keep score.

    And just as we need to be reenergized or encouraged in the Holy Spirit in communal worship, retreats, and friendships, I have a few things to encourage you with:

    Forgive one another.  Mr. Thirty-two Search is ALWAYS moved to tears with people finding it in themselves to reconcile.  That is at the center of our belief.

    Take time to be with each other and to encourage each other.  You can’t build community at a distance.  We all get busy but take time for one another because this is how we know we are loved.

    Take care of yourself.  I’ve learned a lot about health and a shout-out to all of my women friends 40 and over, please get a mammogram.  Also, Fr. Mike lost weight and if he can do it, so can you! 

    In all of this, take heed of St. John’s call:  Love one another.

    Love, love, love,

    Fr. Rog



    All comments are moderated for appropriateness and may take a few minutes to appear.


    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Hello - would you remind me/us where we can send letters to Fr. Rog?

    Katie Bowler

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Thank you Fr. Rog!  You have touched so many peoples lives and your words are a source of inspiration.  I hope everyone gives, shares and accepts love in their lives as you have.
    -Katie Bowler

    Kelly Stewart

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Love, love, love you Fr. Rog! 
    For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof; the work for which all other work is but preparation. - Anonymous

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Hi Kelly- I'll get that information for you. In the meantime, I know he'll be checking this page for people's comments so thanks for saying hello!  
    Amanda in SU Alumni relations

    Colleen (Roach) Cooke

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    My cousin Shannon told me about your cancer. I have kept you in my prayers. Seeing you around campus is one of my fondest memories of SU. You have always been a positive, loving person to all of us. Thank you for all you do to inspire me to be a better person.
    May God bless you today and always with courage, strength, and love.
    Colleen (class of 2005)

    Amanda Kelly, SU Alumni Relations

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Here's the address for sending letters & cards to Fr. Rog: 
    Roger Gillis, S.J.
    Arrupe Jesuit Community
    924 East Cherry Street
    Seattle, WA 98122


    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    God bless, father!

    Shannon Sweeny

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Fr. Rog,
    I am sending love your way from Michigan!  I loved my time at Seattle University and some of my favorite memories of all time involve Search retreats - the planning, preparation, actual retreat, and reflection afterwards.  You were always such a big part of those Search retreats and so you will always have a special place in my heart!  I wish I could visit you in person but hopefully Megan D. has helped share the love for those of us living far away.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.  
    Shannon Sweeny

    Brenna Linford Reynolds

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Fr. Rog!! Thinking of you all the way up here in Alaska! I have been very involved in the Leukemia and Lymphoma community since my mom was diagnosed in 2006. (She's in remission now!) Cancer is a terrible beast and I send all my love. Keep on dancing!!!! BLR (Class of 2002)

    Mikale Orren (Lichota)

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    I wish I knew the exact words to say....Fr. Gillis you are such an amazing man. NO one else...except my husband... do I have a song dedicated too. "Come on Eileen" you & me even have a dance routine together. I learned so much from you- and when I lost my father you & the entire SU community were there to help me through it. I pray for your during this time and please know you are close to my heart. I am a better person for having you in my life. The laughs, crys and craziness.  Take care and love always, mikale

    Mary Beth Campbell

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Father Rog, thank you for once again knowing exactly what to say.  You are an inspiration to me, and to countless others during, before, and after my time at SU.  Please know that I am sending you my love, prayers, and happy thoughts from New Orleans. - Mary Beth Campbell (MB)

    Peter A.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
    Hi Fr Gillis,
    Thank you for being who you are.  You are a memorable part of one of the most important periods of my life.  You are quietly in touch with so much, and you make it look so easy!  I pray for your tranquility and send you all my love.  Peace be with you.

    Jeff Morrison

    Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010
    Fr. Rog, You are a leading example of compassion and patience! You got me started on the right foot during my Freshman year and for that I am eternally grateful! We all love you Fr. Rog!!

    Sue Hogan

    Posted on Thursday, October 21, 2010
    Many thanks for the wonderful message!  We have shared each other's life journey for many years and I'm counting on many more. You are missed and you are always in our thoughts.  Peace and love, Sue

    Nancy Walton-House

    Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010
    Fr. Rog, while I do not know you personally having graduated from SU in 1964 and worked there 1978-1982, I am aware of your significant contributions to the well-being of students and alumni.  My son was delighted by his conversation with you in his Search Retreat.  I've attended masses you've celebrated and benefitted from your homilies.  I am attending the SU Alumni Seminar, Faith in a Secular Age, and know you had a great deal to do with this powerful and relevant course.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your Jesuit leadership given generously in so many different ways.  You make a real difference in our lives and the lives of those we influence.  Much love and peace of the running wave to you.

    shannon caley sand

    Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010
    Father Rog,
    Father , you are a true gift and disciple of Jesus. I have   
    truly been blessed with your kindiness over the years as
    has the campus community. May our precious God give you
    his love,power and strenght to battle your illness.May he hold
    you in the palms of his hands and heal you. Father Rog, know that you are loved, Continue your ministry with our
    Lord and remember he has chosen  you to serve him and
    that is a true gift that you have shared with us all. My love and
    prayers for healing are with you Father Rog.
    May God Bless you Father
    Shannon Caley Sand

    Jessica Ryan Goglin

    Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2010
    Father Rog,
    I had the pleasure of your company when I attended the 75th Anniversary of the College of Nursing in April.We had lunch together,and I so enjoyed meeting you,and sharing stories about my days at Seattle U.I will keep you in my prayers.May God bless you always.

    Gloria Rivera

    Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010
    Father Rog,
    I met you when I was a JVC at North House.  I appreciated your guidance when we did our musical at the parish.  It was amazing that you were able to coordinate the diverse group of people so that we had a production in the end.
    A few years after the JVC, I was working with Fr. Stohr in his ministry to the prisoners and their families and had the treat of meeting your parents in Walla Walla.  They were wonderful and spoke highly of you.  I could see where your energy and compassion came from.
    I'll keep you in my prayers.  Take Care and Blessings.

    Judy Pigott

    Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010
    Though I don't know you, yo've touched me with your story. Even more people could be inspired by it, and I'm wondering whether you might let us post it as a PSN story in our monthly newsletter. If you were to check our website:, you could see whether this might be OK from your point of view, and let me know.  Personal Safety Nets (PSN) strives to guide people to replace fear and isolation with security and connection. Whatever your response - thank you for sharing your story. You make my world better for your generosity. Judy

    Laura Klingenstein

    Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010
    Father Rog-
    This letter fills my heart with such warmth. Thank you for all you have done and do for me, for the SU community, and for this world. You continue to touch so many people. 
    Sending you my love and prayers from France.
    -Laura Klingenstein


    Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010
    Fr. Rog you are an inspiration!  I miss you around campus and wish you the best as you continue to deal with this illness.  Please know that I and all the students, staff and faculty that you have worked with have you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Jane Frances Nabakaawa

    Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010
    Fr. Rog,
    Yes, you do everything out of love. Indeed you are an apostle of love, something that is a great lesson for us all. It has a great chance for me to visit with you several times at Mt. St. Vincent Nursing home. I continue to pray that the love of the Triune God may touch your heart as you struggle with cancer and heal you.
    Jane Frances, D.M.

    Mimi Krsak

    Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010
    Fr. Rog, You have brought joy to so many people.  You are surrounded by light and love.  May peace be your constant companion.


    Posted on Friday, November 05, 2010
    Hey!  Remember that crazy pasta dinner onstage with all of us during Saturday Sunday Monday?!  Now, that was some major love: especially the night we had to eat those noodles raw raw raw!  We loved our audience so much, we did it!
    Love is all we need!
    Best from Ki

    Sean Klosterman

    Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2010
    Sending LOVE from the Holy Land - I think about you always.

    Richard Zielke

    Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2010
    Fr Rog, please email me directly to discuss your cancer. I was diagnosed at SCCA in Feb with Pancreas Cancer with 3 - 6 months to live. It is now Nov and the tumor has been reduced 30 % in one area and 40 % in another. I believe that
    with your strong faith and the will to live you can beat it also.

    Gayle Sommerfeld '74

    Posted on Saturday, November 06, 2010
    Hi, Fr. Rog,
    Thanks for the message/reminder.  When things get challenging in University Advancement or at home, I have pulled this out from where I saved it on my computer and re-read it. I had not gotten the chance to know you quite so well as some others in our Jesuit community at SU.  One of the things I like best about you is though your acceptance and love of our students, and the rest of us, too.  And I knew if I sent a student your way, you'd give them all the time, attention, and help they needed.  Thanks for being such a great example of what Jesus taught.  I miss seeing you at Mass and out on the upper mall.  Take care, and prayers and all the best to you.
    God bless,  Gayle

    Cory Hitzemann

    Posted on Sunday, November 07, 2010
    Fr. Gillis, you are such a wonderful person.  The love you shared with all of those lucky enough to know you through the years will stay with us always.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.  Cory ('97)

    Ayu O

    Posted on Sunday, November 07, 2010
    Dear Fr. Gillis, you are so right! Love, love, love...and laughter! I will always have fond memories of your grace-filled presence and awesome sense of humor. Cancer totally sucks--having had it recently myself--so keep fighting the good fight! May God grant you comfort, courage and peace.

    Trent Dotson

    Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010
    Fr. Rog, warm sun and healing prayers from here in AZ. You're an inspiration in trying times.

    Dena Reindel

    Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010
    Thank you for being a wonderful advisor to my daughter Lyndsie.  We appreciate your words of wisdom. God bless you and thank you!

    Greg (Walla Walla) Heinzman

    Posted on Monday, November 08, 2010
    From one Walla Wallan to another: thanks for being a guiding voice and source of wisdom and humor throughout my years at SU.  Yes, you were my pre-major advisor for a while and provided sage advice, but it's the dance moves I remember most!  I'm pretty sure Mikale was in on those, too.

    Betsy Staal, class of '99 Theology & Min.

    Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010
    Dear Fr. Roger,  Just adding my prayers to others.  I was employed in Prison Ministry for a long time [still a volunteer].  I remember so well the wonderful GoodFriday/Easter Celebrations you and Fr. John Whitney brought to the Monroe Corrections complex.  What a gift to our men there!  I will ask them to put you on their prayer list and I will do the same here at Holy Family Kirkland where I now work in Pastoral Care.  Many blessings on this difficult journey.  Betsy

    Jessica Price

    Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010
    Father Rog, I really miss you! I thought you would be pleased to hear that we got all the nurses into schedules this winter but it just wasn't the same without your detailed charts and daily phone calls and visits. I was remembering the time years ago that you took all the registrations home and worked on them over Thanksgiving break. I've always appreciated the combination of your dedication to students combined with your ability to set boundaries to help them develop. I'm sure you miss them so I'd like you to know they are in good hands. Take care.
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