Retired Southwest Side ‘Super Priest’ might spend ‘a few more days’ at longtime parish
BY MITCH dudek Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org October 1, 2012 7:21PM
Rev. Daniel Mallette, pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, 9837 S. Troop Street, Wednesday, September 26, 2012 . | John H. White~Sun-Times
Updated: October 2, 2012 1:26AM
Father Dan Mallette, the pugnacious Southwest Side priest who’s been ordered to leave his rectory, but doesn’t want to budge, will spend at least one more night in the bed he’s known for 35 years.
Mallette, 80, was ordered by the archdiocese to move out by Monday because the St. Margaret of Scotland rectory — where he was brutally beaten by burglars earlier this year in the Longwood Manor neighborhood — is unsafe for him and needs repairs.
“I’m spending the night here, but taking it one day at a time,” Mallette said Monday.
Mallette, who has 24-hour care givers and is frail but mentally sharp, will retain the service wherever he chooses to live, said archdiocese spokesman Colleen Dolan.
“He’s supposed to leave today, but he apparently needs a few more days to get his arrangements in place,” said Dolan.
Mallette decided not to live in several retirement homes suggested by the archdiocese because they wouldn’t allow his Scottish Terrier, Tuffy.
A friend said he’s setting Mallette up in a private residence in Oak Lawn, but could provide no further details.
Amplifying the awkwardness of an archdiocesan quarrel that typically would remain inhouse, is the fact that Mallette and those in his corner have clashed with Mallette’s replacement, Father Bill O’Donnell.
Last week, during an interview with the Sun-Times-Mallette labeled O’Donnell a “pain in the ass.”
Meanwhile, Dolan says repair work scheduled to begin Monday on the rectory has been delayed. She also denies Mallete’s claim that Cardinal Francis George promised Mallette would have a home at St. Margaret’s for the rest of his life.
“I think what [the cardinal] said was something along the lines of ‘I’d like to see you be able to stay,but we’ll have to see.’ But the cardinal made no promises,” said Dolan.
Mallette has been a neighborhood fixture for 35 years who — with a sense of humor and commitment — has helped countless youths and alcoholics get their lives back on track.
“They say this place is too dangerous, for me,” Mallette said Sunday, putting a sarcastic and spooky tone on the word dangerous.
“They just don’t know you father,” said a young female supporter.
“That’s right, I’m Super Priest,” chirped Mallette.
Appointed in 1977, just as white flight was turning the Longwood Manor neighborhood black, Mallette’s charisma and hard work for decades kept generations of white worshippers coming back from further afield, helping to build one of the city’s most diverse congregations even as Catholic churches in other black areas closed, parishioners say.