The Rev. Donald Hawkins, S.J., a Jesuit priest who carried with him throughout his career as a teacher, priest and archivist a passionate interest in the early history of the Jesuits in the South, died Monday. He was 67.
Hawkins’ death was announced by Jesuit High School, where he had taught for a combined 15 years, throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
He was also well known in the Uptown church community of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church parish, where he served as pastor for six years before retiring in April.
Hawkins also served as rector of the Spring Hill College Jesuit Community in Mobile, Ala., and was a former assistant director of novices at the Jesuit Novitiate at Grand Coteau.
Among his lasting contributions will be his published works on the early history of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, in Louisiana and the south.
He served as archivist of the Jesuits’ New Orleans province and was a recognized authority on the local history of the Jesuits, who arrived in Louisiana in the 17th century and established their first high school here in 1847, later establishing Loyola University as well.
Hawkins was a fierce protector and student of Jesuit history, but willing to share his knowledge with researchers, students and alumni.
Hawkins taught at Jesuit High School as a scholastic from 1970 to 1973 and again as a priest from 1977 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1998. As a priest, the school said Hawkins served during various stints as chairman of the Theology department, director of Campus Ministry, and school chaplain.
He also served as chaplain at Ursuline Academy.
Hawkins had been a Jesuit for 48 years and a priest for 37 years.
Visitation will be Saturday at Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6367 St. Charles Ave., beginning at 9 a.m. with a funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. Burial at Spring Hill College.