Chicago native lands key post in largest Catholic missionary order


By Katie Drews, for

(POSTED: 7/9/12)
The Rev. Robert Kisala, a Chicago native and expert on religion in Japan, has been elected to the second highest post within the Society of the Divine Word, the world’s largest order of Roman Catholic missionary priests and brothers.
As vice superior general, Kisala will help lead the 6,000-plus men who are serving in more than 70 countries for the Divine Word, which has a Chicago Province based in north suburban Techny and is otherwise headquartered in Rome.
Kisala, 55, has held various leadership positions for the order, including provincial superior and, most recently, admonitor of the general council in Rome. He also spent more than 20 years in Japan where he earned a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Tokyo and served as a missionary, associate professor and author.
Hailing from Chicago, Kisala grew up in the Humboldt Park area. His father was a Polish immigrant who came to the U.S. after World War II and ended up in Chicago working in maintenance, first at St. Anne’s Hospital and later at Loretto Hospital. His mother, who was born in Chicago to Irish parents, took care of Kisala and his two brothers.

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