I am forwarding one of the email "threads" that are circulating upon the news of Father Doran's death. As Campion's principal, Father Doran had a more remote relationship with most Campion students than the other Jesuits, yet these e mails all sound the same theme. Men remember Father Doran decades later with great fondness for a man who impressed them with his goodness.
More telling are the private notes I have received from alumni who had more intense contacts with Father Doran. One fellow, not in my class, was caught drinking and faced expulsion until Father Doran interceded on his behalf. That student went on to graduate first in his college class and then go on to great academic success in an Ivy League medical school. He has always credited Father Doran's intercession as the turning point that made it possible.
Another fellow lost his mother just before Christmas in his freshman year. "How do I put this?" he wrote to me. "Father Doran became a substitute mother for me."
A third fellow suffered greatly at Campion. One problem was his terrible academic rank. He went to Father Doran for advice, and Father Doran would consistently and confidently advise him that the only thing that mattered was that he was doing his best. The student did not believe this, but he was amazed that Father Doran seemed to truly believe in the truth of what he was saying, that he was not just saying it to encourage the student. Years later the student learned that a brain injury in childhood had left him with a real learning disability. Now the man recalls his struggles in the same light as Father Doran suggested, as heroic.
Everything I have been reading supports the portrait of a man who, while keeping a good eye on the whole herd, had a genius for kindly, calmly and effectively discerning the one lost sheep and pulling it from the brambles.
Shakespeare was wrong. The good men do does live after them. You companions do not need to know that, but I would hope that all of the Jesuits who taught at Campion keep learning how the Lord keeps teaching us with the lessons they taught there.
My condolences to the Society on the temporary loss of this good man.