David Tobin Asselin, S.J. was born in Bromptonville, Quebec on May 21, 1922, and, following activity in the Loyola College contingent of the Canadian Officers Training Corps during World War II, he entered the St. Stanislaus Novitiate in Guelph, Ontario in July of 1942. He was exempted from the normal course of Jesuit studies because of his prior academic success, and instead underwent an expedited several years of studies between Guelph and the Jesuit Seminary in Toronto. He taught at Saint Mary’s High School in Halifax as well as Loyola High School in Montreal before his 1953 ordination.
In 1955, Father Asselin taught theology and directed the student chaplaincy at Loyola College, and was then named spiritual director of the Jesuit scholastics at the seminary in Toronto. He devoted much of his time to the study and implementation of Dutch Jesuit William Peters, S.J.’s interpretation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, which stressed traditional asceticism, and invited Father Peters to direct a retreat at Regis College in 1963. Subsequently, these interpretations were shared internationally, and Loyola House gained renown as a centre for Jesuit spirituality. Father Asselin went on to publish multiple interpretations of Scripture and the Spiritual Exercises. In 1969, however, a brain tumor was detected, and he passed away three years later.