CHICAGO — Cardinal Francis E. George, retired archbishop of Chicago, died April 17 after a battle with cancer.
In a written statement, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago who was ordained a bishop by Cardinal George, praised his mentor.
“The church has lost a great servant, the Archdiocese of Chicago has lost a tremendous shepherd and I have lost a personal friend and mentor,” said Archbishop Listecki.
“I consider myself blessed to have been ordained a bishop by Cardinal George and then served as one of his auxiliaries. His insight into church teachings, his love for the church of Chicago and his commitment to Jesus Christ shaped and formed my episcopacy. I have often said that Cardinal George was the undeclared intellectual leader of the Conference of Catholic Bishops. We will all miss his voice, but we will continue to be shaped by his vision. May God welcome this servant into his Kingdom.”
The cardinal had been readmitted to Loyola University Medical Center in late March for treatment of hydration issues and pain management, according to archdiocesan spokeswoman Susan Burritt. In early March, Cardinal George was hospitalized at Loyola’s medical center for several days to undergo tests to evaluate his condition since he stopped treatment for cancer in late January.
In July 2006, the cardinal received a diagnosis of cancer of his bladder and ureters. He underwent a five-hour operation at Loyola to remove his bladder, prostate gland and sections of his ureters – the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
He had a successful recovery from that surgery and did not need chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
In August 2012, doctors found cancerous cells in his kidney and on the liver. He had to undergo a chemotherapy regimen. Two years later, he had to go through more chemotherapy followed by the drug trial.
Last November, he was succeeded by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich.
More information to come.
The Milwaukee Catholic Herald contributed to this story.