Rev. David Bakewell Burrell, C.S.C. | March 1, 1933 – October 1, 2023

Rev. David B. Burrell, C.S.C., 90, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Indiana, on October 1, 2023, after a short illness.

Fr. Burrell was born on March 1, 1933, in Akron, Ohio, the second youngest of five children of Roger and Nancy Burrell (Bakewell). He was preceded in death by his parents and his three brothers: Paul, Alexander, and Roger. He is survived by his sister, Nina Klee, and numerous nieces and nephews. After graduating from St. Vincent’s High School in Akron, Ohio, in 1950, Fr. Burrell attended the University of Notre Dame, earning a bachelor’s degree in the general program of Liberal Studies in 1954. He entered the Holy Cross Sacred Heart Novitiate in Jordan, Minn., where he made first vows on August 16, 1955, professed final vows on August 16, 1958, and was ordained a Holy Cross priest on November 29, 1959. By 1960, Fr. Burrell earned his S.T.B. and S.T.L. in Theology from Gregorian University in Rome and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University in 1964.

In 1964, after earning his doctorate, Fr. Burrell taught in the Department of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Notre Dame until 1980. In 1980, he served for one year as Rector at the Ecumenical Institute for Advance Theological Studies in Tantur, Israel, before teaching at Notre Dame College in Dhaka, Bangladesh, until 1982. From 1982-2006, Fr. Burrell returned to the University of Notre Dame to teach. Fr. Burrell taught at the Uganda Martyrs University in Kampala, Uganda, from 2006-2012,  and taught at Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2012-2013. In 2013, he was assigned to live in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he remained until he moved to Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Indiana, for health reasons.

Fr. Burrell authored numerous books on Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions and could speak and translate numerous languages. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate in theology from Lund University in Sweden, the Aquinas medal from the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the John Courtney Murray award from Catholic Theological Society of America.

The Funeral Mass will be at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind. You may also join us via livestream at

Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Advancement, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at

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