Rev. Eugene M. Rooney, SJ, was born on Long Island in Jackson Heights, NY, on November 29, 1926. He graduated from Regis High School in Manhattan and entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, PA in 1944. He received his Bachelor’s degree and Licentiate in Philosophy from Woodstock College in Maryland and went on to earn a Master’s in Library Science. He was ordained a priest on June 23, 1957.
Fr. Rooney began his work at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia teaching English and Religion and serving as the school librarian throughout the 1960’s. In 1970 he headed south of the Equator to spend several years in Chile as a teacher and librarian at Colegio San Mateo in Osorno, and as coordinator of college libraries at Residencia San Ignacio in Santiago. Coming Stateside for a year to teach Religion at Scranton Prep, he then returned to San Ignacio in 1974 as librarian, a position he would hold for more than 10 years. He also served as chaplain, became active in directing retreats, and also filled the role as director of the province libraries in Santiago.
Fr. Rooney again returned to the States, and in 1986 began serving as the librarian and coordinator of communications at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, DC. He also served as house treasurer. In 1994 it was back to South America, this time to Uruguay as librarian for both the Catholic University and the Jesuit province in Montevideo. Two years later, Fr. Rooney returned to Osorno as the Chilean province’s consultant on libraries, becoming instrumental in the technical processing of their libraries. He also served as a pastoral minister at Colegio San Mateo. In 1998, he headed back north to Santiago where he spent 13 years as the Chilean province archivist.
In 2011, Fr. Rooney came to live at the Colombiere Jesuit Community in Baltimore, and most recently to Manresa Hall outside Philadelphia where he died peacefully on June 22, 2016 at the age of 89.