Archbishop Donald J. Bolen, B.A., B.A. Hons (Regina), B.Th. (Ottawa) M.Th., (Ottawa)
Archbishop of Saskatchewan
Most Reverend Donald J. Bolen completed his Bachelor of Arts at Campion in 1982 and the Bachelor of Arts Honours in 1984.
Archbishop Donald Bolen felt strongly connected to Campion since the age of 17 being surrounded by the companionship of good friends, leaning on the guidance and support of the staff, and the stewardship of the Jesuit community. He originally started out as an English major in 1978 but eventually shifted his focus to Religious Studies.
One’s destiny is never fully determined alone. As a newly ordained priest called to serve, your internal compass may not always give a true reading of your expected course because there are other forces at work. The Archbishop relates, “There had been a long tradition of at least one diocesan priest being on faculty at Campion. I was interested, but told Fr. Gorski that it would be up to the Archdiocese, who had sent me away to Oxford for further studies. He said they had already cleared it! So in the Fall of 1997, with DPhil still far from completed, I became part of the faculty at Campion, teaching there for three years…”
Amongst his cherished memories are those of the worshipping community, where “Church went from being an obligation to being something I deeply looked forward to, and where I was engaged at a very deep level.” Another milestone was delivering the Nash Lecture in 2009 where he spoke on ecumenical and inter-faith initiatives that offered promising paths to reconciliation.
When asked to point to his greatest accomplishment, the Archbishop noted that was for others to discern. Yet, he sees his international work, especially his years at the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity as very valuable. There he worked on international dialogues with Anglicans, Methodists and Evangelicals that were “…deeply enriching and life-giving. That’s one among many privileges that my life has afforded…”
By his leadership, Archbishop Bolen carries a strong conviction that his (and the Catholic community’s) future goals should include guiding the church towards deeper engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. He interprets the calls to action addressed to the churches as an “olive branch. There is a request for engagement, conversion, relationship. I am moved by that invitation, feel that it is appropriate, and want to assist the church I serve to engage deeply in responding to those requests, building stronger and healing relationships with the Indigenous community as we do so.”