Died 3 April 2018
Jesuit Father Richard J. Hauser died on April 3, 2018, at the Creighton University Jesuit Community in Omaha, Nebraska. He was 80 years old.
Fr. Hauser was born on June 22, 1937 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He entered the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus on August 8, 1955 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Fr. Hauser was ordained on June 4, 1968 at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee. He pronounced final vows on April 24, 1976 at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Before entering the Society, Fr. Hauser graduated from Marquette University High School (1955). As a Jesuit he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy (1961), a master's degree in American history (1964), and a master's degree in dogmatic-systematic theology from St. Louis University School of Divinity. Fr. Hauser earned a licentiate in philosophy (1962) and a licentiate in theology from St. Louis University. In 1973, Fr. Hauser earned his Ph.D. in religion and religious education from Catholic University of America. His dissertation compared Abraham Maslow and Thomas Merton in their approaches to religious experience.
During regency, Fr. Hauser taught English at Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin (1962-1963), completed a master's degree, and taught English and religion at St. Francis Mission in South Dakota (1964-1965). After finishing his doctoral studies in 1972, Fr. Hauser began working at Creighton University, where he worked for over 45 years. While at Creighton, Fr. Hauser taught theology, was chair of the theology department, director of the graduate programs in theology, ministry, and Christian spirituality.
Through his classes and writings, Fr. Hauser encouraged people to apply the theology of the Holy Spirit to all dimensions of their lives: the public, personal, and spiritual. He wrote three books (In His Spirit: A Guide to Today's Spirituality; Moving in the Spirit: Becoming a Contemplative in Action; and Finding God in Troubled Times), contributed to compilations, and wrote many articles and reviews. His writings apply the theology of the Holy Spirit to a dimension of contemporary spiritual living. In 1990, Fr. Hauser founded Creighton's master's degree programs in ministry and theology, serving as the program director until 2002. He also served as director of the master's degree program in Christian spirituality for 25 years. In 1991, Fr. Hauser was granted Creighton's Distinguished Faculty-Administrator Award. Later in his career, Fr. Hauser was the Assistant to the President for Mission. Fr. Hauser was also rector of the Creighton University Jesuit Community (2001-2007).
In addition to his scholarly work, Fr. Hauser's love of Christ led him to continually help people recognize God's presence in their lives. In 1975 he established the Sunday Candlelight Mass at Creighton University. He served as residence hall chaplain in Swanson Hall for seventeen years from 1974 to 1991. Throughout his life, Fr. Hauser was an unfailing promoter of vocations for the Society. One example of this was the many years he was coordinator of Jesuit vocation promotion groups for Creighton students.