Remembrance of the Life of Eldon Shields CoL
(Editor’s Note: Information from Marcella Hannon Shields)
Eldon was born in Corona, Calif. He spent his early years in Banning Homes in Los Angeles, while his mother worked in the shipyards. He moved with his family to North Dakota and then Arkansas and Oklahoma, where he went to the university after serving in the Air Force. He went on to get his doctorate in psychology at Indiana State University in Bloomington, Ind.
Marcella Hannon and Eldon were married in August of 1973. She had already applied to become a Loretto co-member and was accepted in March of 1975. Marcella brought Eldon to the Loretto Motherhouse for the Annual Gathering in 1976. He was so impressed with the welcoming spirit and mission of Loretto that he applied for co-membership and was accepted in 1980 at the Loretto Gathering at Estes Park, Colo.
Eldon’s career as a psychologist included working as Chief Psychologist at Farview State Hospital, a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane of the State of Pennsylvania. The hospital was for men who had committed serious crimes and were found either not guilty by reason of insanity or became mentally ill while in prison. He and Marcella developed a treatment program that encouraged the patient’s involvement in developing therapeutic communities, which significantly reduced violence on the treatment wards.
In 1982, at the invitation of the Passionist Community of Canada, Eldon and Marcella went to Canada to establish a center for developing leadership skills for laypersons working in rural parish communities. They worked with Thomas Berry, C.P., to develop the program and extend it beyond parishes. They came up with the name: The Centre for Creative Ministries. The Compassionate Leadership Program became the core of the Centre, which was located in the former Passionist Monastery in Toronto. When the old monastery building was torn down in 1997, the Centre moved to an abandoned building in the Taylor Creek Park. Eldon used his multiple building skills to restore the abandoned building into a beautiful haven of compassion and peace. It was in this beautiful building that the Children’s Peace Theatre was born in 1999 and came into life with the generous support of the Loretto Mission Fund. This venture for the youth of Toronto is still vibrant today!
When Eldon and Marcella returned to their home in Pennsylvania in 2004 the Centre was renamed the Hannon Shields Centre for Leadership and Peace. Eldon then served in the Loretto at the UN Office as a Loretto Representative on the NGO Committee for Disarmament, Peace and Security.
Eldon leaves two daughters and seven cherished grandchildren. His first great grandson, due Sept. 30, 2019, will have his name.
Eldon’s love of Loretto was evident in his final letter to the Community in July 2019. He went peacefully into the arms of the “Great Sacred” on Aug. 10, 2019.
[In Eldon’s letter to Loretto he said in part, “I want you to know that I continue to pray for our Loretto ties that bind us — history, mission, relationship, faith, love and hope.” We are grateful for the loving kindness of Eldon.]