Past Leadership

Father Dan Dorsey (2003-2011)

As president of Glenmary I learned a lot about Glenmarians and our coworkers. Their enthusiasm for mission is contagious: they have a deep relationship with Jesus Christ and are faithful to prayer. As earthen vessels, they embody the words of St. Peter to the lost and forgotten in the mission regions of the United States: "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus the Nazorean, (rise and) walk" (Acts 3:6). Glenmary brothers, priests and coworkers are gifted individuals. They are incredibly generous with their time, energy and resources. They continue to fulfill the many missionary dreams of our founder, Father Bishop, in ways that few will ever notice, but in ways that are nevertheless heroic. (Glenmary Challenge, Summer 2007)

Father Jerry Dorn (1995-2003)

"An essential element of the Glenmary charism is to bring the joy and peace of Jesus Christ to the poor and neglected people of rural America. But often a person's basic human needs must be addressed before there can be any openness to relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church. Sadly, many of our fellow citizens continue to live in poverty. Over 40 million Americans do not have access to adequate health care. When I served as a pastor in rural Arkansas, I saw this statistic translated into real human lives. [As missioners we believe] we must bring the love of Jesus Christ to our people through tangible gifts of food, health care, affordable housing and a host of other basic material needs. We believe in serving people's material needs so they will be better able one day to listen to the Good News of salvation." (Glenmary Challenge, Autumn 2001)

Father Bob Dalton (1991-1995)

"During my years as the president of Glenmary, I had in my office a framed poster from 1947 which gave the times and the places where Mass was offered through western North Carolina. Private homes and public halls were listed as the places of worship. Most often Mass was offered just once a month. Every time I glanced at that poster, the heroic efforts of these determined missioners and the faith of those few valiant lay men and women gave me courage. The fact that these same communities now had vibrant parishes reassured me that the seeds being planted in my time would grow and prosper." (Glenmary Challenge, Summer 1999)

Father Frank Ruff (1983-1991)

"Like most religious congregations, Glenmary suffered a net loss of members in the 1970s and 1980s. Glenmary was founded to help make the Catholic Church present in rural Appalachia and the South. Since 1939, Glenmary missioners had started and developed many churches in these areas. Though the need still existed and bishops wanted our help, we were no longer able to start new churches with priests and brothers as missionaries. We had a choice. We could either abandon the dream of making the Church available where it had not been before or we could follow Father Bishop's dream and the "call of the church" and utilize lay missionaries. We have learned that, indeed, dedicated lay missionaries are available to start new Catholic mission churches. Today they are pouring out their lives in [mission counties]. And they are effective." (Glenmary Challenge, Summer 1999)

Father Bob Berson (1975-1983) and (1965-1971)

"If I had to tag the most significant happening during my years in office, it would have to be the Renewal Chapter of 1968-69. Out of it came the General Assembly, an elected group of Glenmary missioners who represent the whole membership and meet for the better part of a week twice annually to discuss Glenmary affairs with the administration. It provides a broad base of consultation for the president and his council as they lead Glenmary into an ever-challenging future." (Glenmary Challenge, Summer 1999)

Father Charlie Hughes (1971-1975)

"A key development that began to emerge in the mid-1970s became known as ecumenism. This effort to bring Christians together to work in a spirit of harmony, respect and hope for eventual unity was well grounded in the spirit and documentation of the Second Vatican Council.[...] With the new millennium coming, and with the good will and mutual respect that is current among the various Christian bodies, we have a unique opportunity to respond. Today, in our particular moment of history, I hear the call to Christian unity, the call to believe, proclaim and bear unified witness to the whole truth about Jesus and his Body which is the Church. It is a formidable task." (Glenmary Challenge, Summer 1999)

Father Clem Borchers (1953-1965)

"Glenmary has chosen the Blessed Mother as her patroness under the title of Our Lady of the Fields. We know that she is our most powerful ally and the surest means of carrying the full message of Christ to our fellow Americans. We have found that our rural friends are quick to fall in love with her once they know all about her. The Holy Father's announcement of the present Marian year lends strength to the statement "This is the age of Mary." Mary walks the earth again so that Christ may be reborn in the hearts of her children. Glenmary begs your prayers that she may walk with us into the hinterland of our own country." (Glenmary Challenge, Spring 1954)

Father William Howard Bishop (1939-1953)

"We are striving to organize a religious society to carry the message of our Lord and Savior to the neglected rural sections of America. Our purpose is to live among these rural people and preach the gospel to them in the open air and in public buildings so as to correct misinformation that is in their minds concerning the Church, and to teach them the truths of Christ." (From a letter written April 18, 1940)