Name: Edward Patrick DOWLING
RELA: 3rd cousin 2x removed
Birth: 1 SEP 1898 in St. Louis, MO
Census: 1900 8224 Church Rd., Page 4A, ED 13, St. Louis, St. Louis Co., MO
Census: 1910 8224 Church Road, Page 3A, ED 4, Ward 1, St. Louis, MO
Military service 28 OCT 1918 Pvt., ASN 5268144, STUDENTS ARMY TNG C ST.LOUIS UNIVERSITY, ST. LOUIS, MO TO DISCHARGE
Degree 1924 A.B., St. Louis University
Degree 1925 M.A., St. Louis University
Census: 1930 221 N. Grand Ave., St. Louis Univesity Dorm., Page 1A, Ward 17, ED 62, St. Louis, MO
ORDN: 25 JUN 1931 St. Louis, MO by Archbishop John J. Glennon
Death: 3 APR 1960 in Memphis, Shelby Co., TN
Burial: 6 APR 1960 Florissant, St. Stanislaus Cem., St. Louis, MO
Burial: 1972 Jesuit Sec., Calvary Cem., St. Louis, MO
Occupation: Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest
Baptism: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Louis, MO
Edward Dowling, Chicago Daily News, July 28, 1941:
"The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it."
William Griffin Wilson, co-founder A.A.; tried LSD California August 29 1956 under guidance Gerald Heard, present & guiding Sidney Cohen psychiatrist Los Angeles Veterans Administration Hospital, Tom P. there, invited close associates try LSD, Father Dowling did, Dr. John L. Morris [Dr. Jack] didn't, Dr. Sam Shoemaker, Lois did, withdrew LSD experiments by 1959.
Source: the News-Letter, Missouri and Wisconsin Provinces, May 1960, Vol. 20, No. 8, by (Fr.) James McQuade:
Fr. Edward Dowling, S.J.
It is easy to give the statistics on Fr. Dowling. He was born in St. Louis, Sept. 1, 1898. He attended the Baden Public and the Holy Name Parochial School and went on to St. Louis University High School. In 1918, he served as a private in the First World War. The following year he served as a reporter on the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. In 1919 he entered the Order at Florissant and followed the regular course subsequently for philosophy at St. Louis University. His regency from 1926 to 1929 was spent at Loyola Academy, Chicago, Illinois. He was ordained in St. Louis by Archbishop Glennon in 1931. At the end of his theology he was assigned to the staff of the Central Office of Sodalities of Our Lady and, apart from the succeeding year spent in tertianship at St. Stanislaus in Cleveland, has been on the staff of The Queen?s Work until his death on Apr. 3, 1960, at the age of 61.
The estimate of the man, however, is quite another thing. It would be difficult to pick the personality trait that was most characteristic of Fr. Dowling: a genuine simplicity, a real interest in and love of people, a great capacity for friendship, a strong devotion to the cross, an inexhaustible patience and charity - all would be competing for first place.
Fr. Dowling had been under treatment for a heart condition for three years, but for many years he had been suffering from a crippling infirmity which made walking difficult. He was very active in spite of this and engaged in an energetic apostolate, leaning on one of his many friends or on his ever ready cane in the use of which he became quite a master.
It was in this apostolic activity that he died. He had flown to Memphis, Tenn., on Saturday, Apr. 2, to conduct a marriage conference sponsored by Memphis alumnae of Maryille College of the Sacred Heart, St. Louis. He was found dead in bed at 8:00 A.M. the following day at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Barzizza, where he was staying. The numbers of mourners both at the funeral parlor and at the Mass. and the cortege that wound its way out to Florissant fully justified the headline on the article in the Globe-Democrat, "Father Dowling, Friend of Many, Dies Suddenly."
Fr. Dowling was one of the originators of the Cana Conference, a movement designed to improve marriage and family life. He had conducted well over 300 Cana Conferences in the USA and Canada. His interest in the family, its protection and development, involved him in almost every movement along this line. Monsignor DeBlanc, director of the Family Life Bureau of NCWC, wired, "Fr. Dowling's death an irreparable personal loss." Monsignor Egan, director of Chicago Cana, telegraphed "Our debt to him for what he was and what he did will never be repaid."
He was also a sponsor of Alcoholics Anonymous, and an intimate associate of William G. Wilson, a co-founder of the organization. Mr. Wilson came on from New York for the funeral and, together with the local members, expressed in many ways the sense of loss felt by members of that organization. Mr. Wilson in a formal visit to Fr. Superior expressed the deep gratitude of Alcoholics Anonymous to the Society of Jesus, not only for the work of Fr. Dowling, but also for the generally favorable attitude toward the organization on the part of Jesuits from the beginning. He attributed this in part to the influence of Fr. Dowling.
Fr. Dowling also led in the establishment of the first St. Louis Chapter of Recovery, Inc., an organization begun by the late Dr. Abraham A. Low to enable members to improve their mental health. He, himself, conducted two groups which met regularly for mutual self-help in nervous disorders here at The Queen's Work. This work particularly led to an almost endless stream of visitors to his office and an almost continuous series of telephone consultations. His patient sympathy made him helpful to ever so many in this field.
His most recent project was the formation of a new group which he called the Montserrat Circle composed of people with a tendency to scruples. They met periodically to discuss their problems by way of helping each other somewhat along the lines of die group therapy used by Recovery; Inc.
As a former newspaper man, Fr. Dowling was a member of the American Newspaper Guild and served as a delegate for the St. Louis local at Guild conventions in Toronto and San Francisco. He was a friend of the late Heywood Broun, noted New York columnist, and helped to convert Broun to Catholicism. One of his associates among the newsmen tells a story of Fr. Dowling's entrance to Florissant. The story is characteristic in many ways: "It was in an all-night cafe frequented by Globe-Democrat reporters that he announced he would enter the seminary at Florissant the next morning. As astounded fellow staff member who had an automobile volunteered to drive the young newsman to the seminary. The friend reported that Dowling wore his favorited candy-striped silk shirt for the occasion, and his only luggage was a pair of canvas duck trousers he carried under his arm. En route, the friend unsuccessfully tried to persuade the young man to turn back. Fr. Dowling said that he was startled a few days later when he saw the seminary floors being swabbed with rags including his silk shirt." It was one of Fr. Dowling's characteristics all through his life to concentrate on the essentials and ignore the details. He was thus ideally suited to work with the many movements with which he was constantly concerned. It also made him the despair of those devoted to the cause of "regular order."
Fr. Dowling had also considerable contact with the field of political science, not only through his perennial interest in promoting the system of Proportional Representation, but also through his close connections in the field of St. Louis politics. He was the first president of the St. Louis Housing Authority and honorary vice-president of the National Municipal League. He belonged to the Proportional Representation Society of Great Britain, the American Political Science Association, Public Questions Club of St. Louis, and the Old Baden Society.
His work with the Summer School of Catholic Action over a period of 25 years made him well-known throughout the country for the courses he gave in politics, in marriage, and in family life. He bad developed an interest in the application of the Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius to the life of the family and communicated this to his SSCA audiences which were always large.
"Fr. Dowling's shock of tousled white hair," writes one of his journalist friends, "and his bulky figure gave him an added air of authority as he expounded his views at meetings. His opinions and ideas were often unconventional. He was long a proponent of proportional representation as a means of defeating corrupt political machines. He once urged that Missouri's governors be replaced by state managers with powers similar to those of city managers on the municipal level.' As early as 1941, he advocated more democracy in labor unions to protect ?the rank and file against the usurpations of their self-styled leaders.? He advocated a new St. Louis city charter in 1936 and in 1958 called for a ?complete united merger of the entire area of city and county? with the exception of those areas which vote to stay out. His work in marriage counseling led him to advocate an ?internship in housework? for society debutantes and college girls. He once urged married couples to write each other love notes to make up for the lag in conversation. At one Cana Conference he commented, 'No man thinks he's ugly. If he's fat, he thinks he looks like Taft. If he's lanky, he thinks he looks like Lincoln.' "
The editorial writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote on the eve of Fr. Dowling's funeral, which took place Apr. 6: "The Rev. Edward Dowling, S.J., was a kindly man who never allowed kindliness to keep him from speaking his mind. He made friends wherever he went, especially among newspaper people. He left the city room for the Jesuit Seminary, but he was like the old firehorse. Crippling arthritis restricted his activities but a cane always got him to a Newspaper Guild meeting, to a party for a Pulitzer Prize winner, or any journalistic bull session which promised to bring out the 'inside story? of what made the wheels turn. Eddie Dowling did not vaunt his kindliness; he used it quietly to help those who needed help. They will remember him as long as those who only learned from him that the world is never too gloomy for cheerfulness - even though it always is a little better with a dollop of bourbon and a touch of branch water."
The "image" which the public had of Fr. Dowling was certainly a favorable one, but the "image" in the minds of his Jesuit brethren was no less so. To them, too, he was the patient spiritual director, the frank and kindly guide and counsellor. To them he was a man of true sympathy and an ever ready father confessor. To them he was the spice that added a pleasant flavor to community life. Many indeed will miss his shuffle along the corridors and the click of his cane, but his Jesuit brethren most of all. R.I.P.
Father Ed and AA's Bill W.
by Robert Fitzgerald, S.J.
Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was down. His feet hung over the end of the bed that nearly filled the small room he and his wife, Lois, had rented above the 24th Street AA Club in New York. It was a cold, rainy November in 1940. Lois, who supported them both with a job at a department store, was out. Bill was wondering whether the stomach pain he was feeling was an ulcer.
The walls were closing in. Thousands of copies of the Big Book were waiting in a warehouse, unsold. A few people were sober, but Bill was frustrated. How could he reach all who wanted help? Nine months earlier, a gathering of rich New Yorkers had come and gone with applause for the young movement, but no money. Hank P., after complaining for half a year, finally got drunk in April. Rollie H., a nationally famous ball-player, sobered up but broke AA's policy of anonymity by calling the press for a full name-and-photograph story.
Eventually, Bill fell into the same trap as Rollie; he began calling reporters, too, wherever he gave talks. Now he was becoming the center of attention. He had just returned from Baltimore, where a minister had asked him to face the self-pity in his own talk. He was depressed. What if he--five years sober--were to drink?
It was 10 p.m. The doorbell rang. Tom, the Club's maintenance man, said there was "some bum from St. Louis" to see him.Reluctantly, Bill said, "Send him up." To himself, he muttered, "Not another drunk. "
But Bill welcomed the stranger, all the same. As the man shuffled to a wooden chair opposite the bed and sat down, his black raincoat fell open, revealing a Roman collar. "I'm Father Ed Dowling from St. Louis," he said. "A Jesuit friend and I have been struck by the similarity of the AA twelve steps and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius."
"Never heard of them."
Father Ed laughed. This endeared him to Bill. Robert Thomsen tells the rest of the story this way in his book, Bill W.:
"The curious little man went on and on, and as he did, Bill could feel his body relaxing, his spirits rising. Gradually he realized that this man sitting across from him was radiating a kind of grace....
Primarily, Father Ed wanted to talk about the paradox of AA, the 'regeneration,' he called it, the strength arising out of defeat and weakness, the loss of one's old life as a condition for achieving a new one. And Bill agreed with everything..."
Soon Bill was talking about all the steps and taking his fifth step (telling the exact nature of his wrongs) with this priest who had limped in from a storm. He told Father Ed about his anger, his impatience, his mounting dissatisfactions. "Blessed are they," Father Ed said, who hunger and thirst."
When Bill asked whether there was ever to be any satisfaction, the priest snapped, "Never. Never any." Bill would have to keep on reaching. In time, his reaching would find God's goals, hidden in his own heart. Thomsen continues:
"Bill had made a decision, Father Ed reminded him, to turn his life and his will over to God ... he was not to sit in judgment on how he or the world was proceeding. He had only to keep the channels open ... it was not up to him to decide how fast or how slowly AA developed.... For whether the two of them liked it or not, the world was undoubtedly proceeding as it should, in God's good time."
Father Ed continued quoting Bill's work to him. No one had been able to maintain perfect adherence to the principles. None were saints. They claimed spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.
Before Father Ed left, he pulled his body up, and leaning on his cane he thrust his head forward and looked straight into Bill's eyes. There was a force in Bill, he said, that was all his own. It had never been on this earth before, and if Bill did anything to mar it or block it, it would never exist anywhere again.
That night, for the first time in months, Bill Wilson slept soundly.
Thus began a 20-year friendship nourished by visits, phone calls, and letters. Both men spoke the language of the heart, learned through suffering: Bill from alcoholism, Father Ed from arthritis that was turning his back to stone.
Bill turned to Father Ed as a spiritual sponsor, a friend. Father Ed, in a letter to his provincial, noted that he saw his own gift for AA as a "very free use of the Ignatian Rules for the Discernment of Spirits for the second week of the Spiritual Exercise."
Thus Father Ed endorsed AA for American Catholics with his appendix in the Big Book and his Queen's Work pamphlet of 1947. He was the first to see wider applications of the twelve steps to other addictions, and wrote about that in Grapevine (AA's magazine) in the spring 1960 issue. Bill added a last line to that Grapevine article: "Father Ed, an early and wonderful friend of AA, died as this last message went to press. He was the greatest and most gentle soul to walk this planet. I was closer to him than to any other human being on earth."
For his part, Father Ed counted many gifts from Bill. He had told his sister, Anna, that the graces he received from their meeting were equiv-alent to those received at his own ordination. And he thanked Bill or letting him "hitchhike" on the twelve steps. In 1942 he wrote to Bill that he had started a national movement for married couples to help each other through the twelve steps: CANA (Couples Are Not Alone). He used the steps to help people with mental difficulties, scruples, and sexual compulsions.
When chided by an AA member about his smoking, Father Ed stopped with help from the twelve steps and wrote to Bill that as a result he was becoming as "fat as a hog."
Next, he tried to use the twelve steps with his own compulsive eating. One story of his struggle ends with Father Ed one night eating all the strawberries intended to feed the whole Jesuit Community. He became so sick he had to receive last rites. He went from 242 to 167 pounds and up again like a yo-yo. He asked Bill to start an 00 ("obese obvious") group.
Often Father Ed spoke of being helped by attending an open AA meeting and wrote to Bill that AA was his "lonely hearts club." In his last 20 years his ministry changed radically due to AA and his friendship with Lois and Bill. He gave Cana conferences for families, using the twelve steps, once a month from 1942 to 1960. He cheered Lois on as she started and continued with Al-Anon. Father Ed rejoiced that in "moving therapy from the expensive clinical couch to the low-cost coffee bar, from the inexperienced professional to the informed amateur, AA has democratized sanity."
He wrote his superior to free up another Jesuit, Father John Higgins, who was recovering from mental illness, to work with Recovery Inc., a group Dr. Abraham Low had started for people with mental problems. Those groups for mental illness were especially close to Father Ed's heart as there was a history of depression in his own family. He called people to be wounded healers" for each other.
Was there anything from the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius in Father Ed's gift to Bill? Father Ed pointed out parallels between the Spiritual Exercises and the twelve steps several times, but Bill had written the twelve steps before he ever heard of the Spiritual Exercises.
Father Ed did give Bill a copy of the Spiritual Exercises in 1952, underlining the "Two Standards" meditation. When Father Ed met Bill, moreover, he had called him to the place where he bottomed out and surrendered to his higher power. Father Ed believed that this was the place where humiliations led to humility and then to all other blessings. In saying this, he paraphrased Ignatius's closing prayer of the "Two Standards" meditations.
And this, Father Ed maintained, was where the Exercises become most like AA. He went a step further and invited Bill to make choices based on poverty and humiliation rather than on money, power, or fame.
This suggestion helped Bill Wilson turn down an honorary degree fromYale. On the packet of letters dealing with his decision, he wrote: "To Father Ed, with gratitude." In the letter to Yale he stated his reasons for declining the honor:
"My own life story gathered for years around an implacable pursuit of money, fame, and power, anti-climaxed by my near sinking in a sea of alcohol. Though I survived that grim misadventure, I well understand that the dread neurotic germ of the power contagion has survived in me also. It is only dormant and it can again multiply and rend me--and AA, too. Tens of thousands of AA members are temperamentally like me. They know it, fortunately, and I know it. Hence our tradition of anonymity and hence my clear obligation to decline this honor with all the immediate satisfaction and benefit it could have yielded."
This, then, is where Father Ed met Bill that rainy night long ago, in the small room where bottoming out opens up to life, where humiliations lead to humility--and to all other blessings.
condensed from "Company"
From The Catholic Digest, April 1991
Father: Edward P. DOWLING b: 31 AUG 1871 in St. Louis, MO
Mother: Anna CULLINANE b: 15 MAY 1867 in St. Louis, MO