In an announcement made earlier this academic year, Father Joseph Sheehan shared his intention to retire after 30 years as Chaplain and Professor at Presentation College.
Long walks around campus followed with a few sighs was Fr. Joseph’s calling card, and everyone on campus during his career knew of his kind spirit and humorous personality. Even after teaching classes and leading upwards of six masses a week, Father was always available to talk and encourage the students, faculty, and staff of PC.
“Father Joe has been an absolute treasure at Presentation College,” said Dr. Paula Langteau, the College’s President. “He has brought compassion, wit, humor, and a genuine love of people and of learning to his three-decade commitment to Presentation College and to Aberdeen. There are no words to capture the magnitude of his impact on our campus community. We are all better for his having spent his time and energy giving so graciously in his teaching and his chaplaincy.”
In 1957, Fr. Sheehan took his first vows with the Order of the Brothers of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in Middletown, NY. He professed his solemn vows in 1960, was ordained in 1963.
Fr. Joseph received his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in English from Catholic University of America in 1973 with a concentration on 18th Century British Literature. He would later receive a post-graduate certificate in Theological Studies from Notre Dame in 2003.
Starting in August of 1992, Fr. Joseph, taught College Composition I and II, American, British, and World Literature courses, and Philosophy of Argumentation, as well as many different philosophy and religious studies classes at PC. It was at this time that he would also begin serving as Chaplain for the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Presentation College.
“Fr. Joseph is a bright spot in my day. Always witty and a blessing to be around. Throughout my time here at presentation college, Fr Joseph has taught me an infinite number of life lessons,” said Lindsey Swenson, Director of Campus Ministry.
Fr. Joseph would go on to be awarded tenure, promoted to full professor, and earn the “Spirit of the Mission” award. Father also served as the Arts and Sciences department chair from 1992-1996 and again from 1998-2004. He has also been Secretary, VP and President of Faculty Assembly on campus.
When asked about his retirement Fr. Joseph simply stated, “I loved living in the Prairies of South Dakota. I’m truly going to miss this place.”
This week will mark Fr. Joseph’s final Commencement on Saturday, as well as his final Mass on Sunday, May 8th at 10:30AM. The public is invited to attend the Sunday mass, held by Presentation College and the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel on campus. A reception will follow Mass at the Saints Cafeteria.