He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1951. Dunne then went to study the priesthood at the Georgian University in Rome, Italy where he was later ordained and also earned his S.T.L. and S.T.D. degrees. He then joined the faculty at The University of Notre Dame in 1957 as a priest and a Professor of Theology. In 1988, he was named the Rev. John A. O'Brien Professor of Catholic Theology, which is a prestigious chair in the Catholic Theology department of Notre Dame. The University of Notre Dame established the John A. O"Brien chair in 1981 honoring the late priest/author Rev. John A. O"Brien who died in 1980. The purpose of the Rev. John A. O"Brien professor of Catholic Theology title was "to contribute directly to the Catholic intellectual life and to the Catholic character of the University" (www.nd.edu, p. 1). Currently, Father Dunne is a creative author who has written over fifteen books, many of which were published by the University of Notre Dame Press, including The Way of All the Earth. He has won many awards for teaching, including the 1968 Danforth Foundation Harbison Award and the 1978 Notre Dame Sheedy Award. Father Dunne still lectures at many universities, including Yale University and Oxford University. Father Dunne is still an active author, focusing his literature toward trying to explain an individual's personal search for meaning and self-understanding.
The Way of All the Earth gives an in-depth explanation describing John S. Dunne's two types of suffering. John S. Dunne explains the insight into suffering by comparing and contrasting the teachings of both Jesus and Gotama (Buddha), expressing the need to have a personal relationship with God, and showing how one must be willing to understand suffering and accept it as a part of life. If one can understand his teachings and actively use them in life, one will be able to deal with suffering in a much healthier way. This will enhance one's happiness in life by making life more livable and easier to understand.