Funeral DetailsFuneral: 1:00 PM
Monday 2nd July 2012 at Holy Spirit Catholic Chapel - Newman College, 887 Swanston St, Parkville, VIC
Memories of Prof Emeritus Peter Daniel Steele SJ AM
22 August 1939 - 27 June 2012
Priest, poet, teacher
Continue to use your powers wisely, for us whose wits are turned, often enough, but who know good when we see it, and love too.
Address at Peter Steele's presentation for an Honorary Doctorate at the ACU:
"Growing up in Perth, Peter Steele knew from an early age that he wanted to be a Jesuit priest. In January 1957, the 17-year old moved to Melbourne to join the order.
Fr Steele spent five years studying spirituality and philosophy, and in 1962 began his long association with the University of Melbourne - completing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on English literature.
During his honours year he began work as a tutor in the English Department of the University of Melbourne. Even during a stint of six years as Provincial Superior of the Jesuit Order in Australia, Fr Steele has had a role in academia at the University of Melbourne from 1966 to the present.
While widely read in everything from history and autobiography, Fr Steele decided to focus on English literature.
His publications include seven books of poetry: Word from Lilliput in 1973, Marching on Paradise, Invisible Riders, Plenty: Art into Poetry and The Whispering Gallery: Art into Poetry in 2006. Since then he has published White Knight with Bee-Box: New and Selected Poems and The Gossip and the Wine. He also wrote Jonathan Swift: Preacher and Jester (1978) on the author of Gulliver's Travels, Expatriates: Reflections on Modern Poetry, The Autobiographical Passion: Studies in the Self on Show, and Peter Porter in 1992.
Fr Steele has been a visiting Professor at the University of Alberta, at Georgetown University, at Loyola University of Chicago, and at Fordham University. In 1984 he gave the Martin D'Arcy Lectures at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
In 2006 Fr Steele accepted a Doctorate of Letters from The University of Melbourne and, in 2010 an honorary doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Australia.
Having sat on the Newman College Council for many years, Fr Steele is currently the Scholar in residence at the College, a position which allows him to pursue his writing and sacramental duties.
Poetry has always been and remains Fr Steele's favourite creative pursuit. With an expressed love of reading and teaching poetry, he continues to be actively involved in these areas despite his retirement.
Those who know Fr Steele know not only of his creativity, but of his wit, compassion and imagination. He is also innately modest, making light of his achievements and saying only that he is pleased to have had the opportunity to share his love of literature with so many students."