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2020 Jubilarians’ Reflections

The COVID pandemic prevented the province from holding in-person celebrations to honor our Jubilarians in 2020. However, several used the milestone year as a time to reflect on their Jesuit vocation. We share their thoughts here.  

Father John Arnold, SJ (RIP)

60 Years a Jesuit

Fr. John Arnold, SJAfter graduating from St. Louis University High School in 1958, I attended Saint Louis University. After two years, I decided it was better not to fight the Jesuits with poor grades, but to join them. So, in September 1960 I entered the novitiate. From that day on, my life has been filled with a special joy. Through my father and mother, my brothers, my cousins and many others, I learned the love of others in Christ.

I spent twenty years serving at De Smet Jesuit High School as president, principal and teaching freshmen and another twenty years serving brother Jesuits in the province office as treasurer. Through it all, I came to realize even more that Jesus came on Earth to make us joyful. I tried to do my part to impart that joy to everyone I met by telling stories and jokes (some good, some bad). I pray that all may be filled with joy in and with Christ. Now after sixty joyful years as a Jesuit, I would like to quote from the Book of Maccabees: “I will bring my own story to an end here too. If it is well-written and to the point, that is what I wanted. If it is poorly done and mediocre, that is the best that I could do.”

Father Richard Buhler, SJ

50 Years in the Priesthood

Fifty years ago, my close friend and mentor, Fr. Jim Reinert, SJ, suggested that I attend a summer workshop on ways to utilize the Spiritual Exercises in our Jesuit ministries. Like ordination, it was a life-changing event. I have had many administrative jobs as a Jesuit and that workshop helped prepare me for the “priestly” aspect of each assignment. Belize provided many different pastoral opportunities, but my return to the U.S. to work at the Jesuit Conference could have been entirely administrative if it had not been for Fr. Reinert’s paternal advice.

Several retreats to women religious and CMSM groups prepared me well for becoming director of Sacred Heart Retreat House in Colorado. After eight years there, I moved to White House Jesuit Retreat in St. Louis. My time as pastor of St. Francis Xavier College Church was a gratifying experience of the wide diversity of Jesuit priestly ministry. Becoming rector of the Jesuit Hall community allowed me to continue with my retreat ministry at various Jesuit retreat houses but also provided me a ministry of support and encouragement with the active members of the community and a more spiritual ministry with the older men. It was a grace-filled experience.

Three years ago, I returned to full-time retreat preaching in my native Louisiana at Manresa House of Retreats. I am very grateful to God for sharing His priesthood with me and thank Him every day for the people I have met during these fifty years.

Father John Callahan, SJ

50 Years in the Priesthood

Father John Callahan, SJ Scene one. I was 11 years old in Plymouth, Wisconsin. I woke up at 2 a.m. and walked through the darkness to St. John the Baptist Church under the light of the moon. 3 a.m. was my guard assignment. I stayed with the Holy Eucharist, kneeling in cassock and surplice, from 3 till 4 in the morning on Holy Thursday night. There were only two or three other people there with me, but I experienced peace while spending my allotted time at the altar. I felt so close to Jesus, in awe at the yellow light of the candelabras on the altar as I waited with Him that night.

Two years more I repeated the exercise, all alone, late at night, crossing front yards and railroad tracks to my place at the quiet church, streaming yellow light into the street.

Scene two. I was 17 years old in a parking lot at Campion High School. I was making a Triduum retreat with the other students at the school. Once more I stood alone in the dark, long at night after Holy Thursday services, staring at the yellow light of the huge paschal moon. Shining through the distant stars and trees in that dark night, it seemed so far away. On that night I said “yes” to God, but I wasn’t sure what question the “yes” was answering.

Scene three. Today I am 80 years old and blind. In my dreams I can still stare at the yellow candlelight I saw as a child. The paschal moon, once so far away, grows brighter and closer. In my imagination I know the face of the One I still say “yes” to, a holy face ever brighter and closer in spite of my blindness and incapacities. That face is reflected in the visage of many good people whom I have loved, some of whom also loved me.

It was “yes” to studies and ordination, “yes” to work at four spectacular universities, “yes” to internal service in the Society, “yes” to retreats, “yes” to flora and fauna, “yes” to God’s mysterious will.

My “yes” has been the same in both wonderful times and times of sickness. The Jesuits taught me to love God through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I have lived them and directed them all my life. Now that I am 80, through the Exercises I direct mine and others’ gazes toward the yellow flickering light of holy hour candles, toward the brilliant Paschal moon, toward God’s face which grows ever brighter and closer. 

Father James Carter, SJ

75 Years a Jesuit

Being a Jesuit has brought me many blessings such as studies and travel.  Most of all, however, it has brought me into contact with many wonderful people:  teachers, colleagues, students, and parishioners.  

I am grateful for the blessings of having known these wonderful mentors, teachers, students, and friends.  

Father Christopher Collins, SJ

25 Years a Jesuit

Fr. Chris Collins, SJ

As I take a moment to reflect on my 25 years in the Society, I do so in quarantine in the midst of a pandemic. This is a time of displacement on a number of levels. Displacement, it occurs to me, was also the context for the beginning of my vocation. In the middle of my junior year of high school, my dad got a new job in a different city. What seemed like the end of the world in my 16-year-old perspective turned out to be a great blessing. In my solitude, I began to reflect on why I was on this Earth and what my purpose might be. I ended up doing a summer of service in rural Ecuador before starting college. In that simple lifestyle, I found myself to be happier than I ever had been. At the conclusion of the experience, we had a debriefing session on the beach. In reflecting with friends, talking about the future and looking out at the horizon over the Pacific, I was overcome with an interior experience that was both unsettling and deeply consoling at once. In that feeling of being so displaced with my whole future ahead of me, somehow, I knew deeply that it would be great, and that God would be with me. And so it has been. I couldn’t be more grateful for being displaced!

Father John Hunthausen, SJ

50 Years in the Priesthood

One way to sum up the past 50 years as a Jesuit priest is to say that God is the God of surprises. When I entered the novitiate on February 8, 1959, I had no idea where this pilgrimage would lead me. A number of outstanding Jesuit companions fostered my vocation, and many lay colleagues have been sources of inspiration on this road. My main ministries have been teaching, administration and spiritual direction. Through all these years I have received more blessings than I have been a channel of. Seeing God working in and through others has been an amazing gift. Now that I am pretty much retired, my union in Christ and His church still reaches out through prayer to others, many of whom I will never meet personally in this life.

I have a profound sense of gratitude for being called to the priesthood in the Society of Jesus and also for being a witness to God’s love, mercy, compassion and fidelity in my own life and the lives of others.

Father Gene Martens, SJ

70 Years a Jesuit

Fr. Gene Martens, SJJesus told us: “Everyone who has given up home, brothers or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake will receive many times as much and inherit everlasting life.” The blessings of my Jesuit vocation began in the novitiate, with its rich spiritual training, particularly making the 30-day retreat for the first of three times. Over these 70 years I have also had the blessing of Jesus, in his Eucharistic Presence, living in my house. The Society of Jesus gave me an outstanding academic education: a BA in Philosophy & Letters, MA in Latin, licentiate in Philosophy & Theology and a Certificate in Higher Religious Education from the University of Strasbourg, in France.

I have been blessed with travelling to or living in over 36 cities including Paris, Lourdes, Rome and Jerusalem, and in the countries of the United States, Belize, Honduras, Canada, France, England & Wales, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Greece.

My Jesuit ministries include thirteen years of teaching at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo., seven years in spiritual ministry to the bishop and clergy of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in southern Missouri and being pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Marshfield, Mo. and Mount Carmel Church in Pueblo, Colo. I was in charge of our pavilion’s Jesuit infirmary for three years and was the associate director of the development office of the former Missouri Province for twenty years. Between 1966 and 2009, I gave over 70 retreats and many days of recollection to priests, women religious and lay persons.

In all of this, God has blessed me with many wonderful and dear friends. Truly, I have experienced the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised to those who join Him in spreading His kingdom on Earth.

Father Jerome Neyrey, SJ

50 Years in the Priesthood

Fr. Jerry Neyrey, SJI have always understood my priestly ministry in terms of the “Service of the Word.” My ordination card showed this, a prophecy of times to come — I stood at the ambo, not at the altar. My professional training was in New Testament Studies, which I taught for forty years. I also gave my weekends to parishes in the “Service of the Table.” And so I was: a priest primarily in the “Service of the Word.” When in 2007 I changed ministries, I remained a “Servant of the Word,” by beginning to preach retreats. I acted in “Service of the Table” also, but mostly preached, heard confessions and other versions of the “Service of the Word.”

When this brief period closed, I had no assigned apostolate, but very quickly my facility with words returned. I became a researcher in the province archives, writing three books telling the apostolic stories of Jesuit brothers and priests and publishing six articles on Jesuit parishes and ministries in the South. I served those who were directly serving the Word in Jesuit ministries. But the spirit that first drew me to the study of the Word returned, and I was re-inspired to serve the Word with more careful research and writing of the New Testament. Although most effort was spent on the Gospel of Luke, my signature concern for the humanity of Jesus bloomed (“like us in all things”). That resulted in several articles and a small book. Words about the Word became for me fields and gardens, streams and seas. My Jesuit priesthood, then, has been from the beginning until now a love for the Word in the “Service of the Word.”

Father Neyrey’s most recent publications include:

  • Imagining Jesus . . . in His Own Culture (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018 
  • An Encomium for Jesus. Luke. Rhetoric, and the Story of Jesus (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2020) 
  • By What Authority? Luke Gives Jesus ‘Public Voice’ (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2021)  

 To find out more about Fr. Neyrey, visit or email him at

Father Anthony Ostini, SJ

60 Years a Jesuit

Fr. Tony Ostini, SJThe ink on my high school diploma was barely dry when I arrived in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, on July 30, 1960, to begin my life as a Jesuit. I was very excited and nervous as my parents, sisters and I drove up to the main entrance of St. Charles College and the Jesuit novitiate. During the sixty years since that arrival, I’ve remained excited and proud to be a Jesuit. That describes who I “am,” my identity.

The Society of Jesus has given me so much, for which I am so grateful. Above all, it has given me a vibrant, meaningful spirituality and a way of seeking and finding God. It is my great privilege and joy to have been able, in my ministry as a Jesuit priest, to share that Ignatian Spirituality with many other seekers through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I am especially excited and grateful to be able to do this ministry of the Exercises for the last dozen years back in Grand Coteau at St. Charles College and the Jesuit novitiate where I began.

Gratitude is an essential element of Ignatian Spirituality, and so I want to express deeply and wholeheartedly my gratitude to my parents and family and to my brother Jesuits for these last sixty years of a gratifying and fulfilling vocation. I have received so much more than what I have given. My thanks and gratitude to so many of you for stoking the flames of my initial excitement and keeping it alive and prospering.

Father Joseph Murphy, SJ

60 Years a Jesuit

Fr. Joseph Murphy, SJIn 7th grade, my pastor asked me if I had ever desired to become a priest. I had, but I quickly said no, from fear of being seen through. At Regis Jesuit High, priests who were also teachers doubled that underground priesthood desire, so to speak, especially since they were both high school and college professors. I could imagine a vocation as a priest in academia. My parents gleefully learned of my calling only after getting the medical bill from my entrance checkup, and so I trundled off to Florissant, Mo. with 42 other novices in 1960.

In seminary I longed for the day I could teach high school, and I also thought I could apply for higher studies to teach university. And then I thought: “What about teaching teachers and training them through the studies we were all struggling with — being a Jesuit teaching Jesuits, perhaps, and maybe other seminarians?”

Returning from studies in Rome in 1980, I was blessed to teach theology for nine years at Marquette University. Seminary life was still changing and few aspired to apply for such positions, regarding them back then, sadly, as not the cutting edge of serious intellectual learning. But after a chance to teach at Kenrick Seminary for two years, I was converted to the need for priests to be well-trained academically. I was sent to fill a need at a national seminary in South Africa for five wonderful years that convinced me I had found what I could do best.

Following my return in 1998, the last twenty-one years were at the Josephinum Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. There I had multiple duties besides teaching which, combined with parish work, fulfilled my best hopes for what I could contribute as a Jesuit. It also allowed my high school desires to be realized full circle. Having done little academic writing or publishing, I was recently given time off from pastoral and teaching work to pursue that need and so round off my priest/seminary teacher vocational dreams.

Father John Payne, SJ

50 Years in the Priesthood

Fr. John Payne, SJ

More reasons than I can state lead me to gratitude for my life as a Jesuit.  Among those, the following are paramount:  First, whatever the complex constellation of elements that form our psyche and affect our motives, one of those strongly influencing me early in life was that of wanting to know Jesus Christ in a personal and intimate way.  My vocation as a Jesuit has fostered and helped fulfill that desire with Ignatian Spirituality. Second, an awareness emerging from that spirituality helped me see the pervasive presence of a gracious God in all things.  That grace pervades my family relationships, the blessing of my brother Jesuits and the gift of myriad friends who have shared life with and supported me. Third, the mission given me in challenging ideals, training and different assignments gave me a definite purpose and fueled an intensity in my half-century journey. 

I am deeply gratified that my life has turned out as it has.  The Jesuit approach to life that has placed the person of Jesus at its center, the consciousness that God can be found in all things (and relations) and the sense of purpose given to me steep me in gratitude and a realization of God’s incomparable gifts and measureless love.  

Father Ross Romero, SJ

25 Years a Jesuit

 In the Stanze di Raffaelo of the Vatican Museum one sees a fresco beloved by philosophers entitled “The School of Athens.”  At its vanishing point the painting brings the eye to rest on a conversation between Plato and Aristotle.  Plato points upwards with one hand and holds his Timaeus with the other while Aristotle, with his hand outstretched flat, carries his Nicomachean Ethics.  On the other side of that same room one finds another Raphael fresco entitled “Disputation on the Holy Sacrament.”  Here in a scene placed between heaven and earth the Church fathers debate the teaching on transubstantiation in the very presence of the Holy Eucharist.  A brief reflection on this scene illustrates three things for which I am grateful about the Society of Jesus after my first twenty-five years.  First, the exposure to the treasures of Western thought through the dialogues of Plato and the writings of Aristotle have provided me with a philosophical education and the metaphysical and ethical framework that shape a Catholic worldview.  The conversation between Plato and Aristotle continues to enliven the spirit of philosophy that I have tried to impart to students when I have taught at Spring Hill College, Boston College, Creighton University, and now Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.   

Second, the painting wonderfully depicts the interplay of written texts, active conversation, and solitary contemplation (as shown in the figure of Heraclitus the Obscure in the foreground).  The written, spoken, and living interior Word (logos) are essential for understanding the historical and cultural contexts of the Catholic faith.  Without them we could not respond to our teacher Jesus the Christ.  Thus, I have been blessed in the Society to have learned to pray and, through the Spiritual Exercises, to help others to do the same while giving retreats at Manresa, White House, Our Lady of the Oaks, and Cloisters on the Platte. 

Finally, the rooms feature a juxtaposition of “The School of Athens” and “The Disputation.”  The first depicts reason (belief in man’s natural capacity to ascend to the truth) while the second depicts man’s reliance on Heaven for a desire to fulfill this capacity. As Pope St. John Paul II so magnificently begins his encyclical Fides et Ratio “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth- in a word, to know himself- so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”  This last papal encyclical of the twentieth century expresses one of my central beliefs about seminary formation (and indeed my own formation) that I have gained from the Society of Jesus: while the intellectual formation of a candidate for the priesthood is a necessary condition for becoming “a faithful, loyal, and authentic teacher of the Gospel” it is not by itself sufficient.  To teach and preach in fidelity to the magisterium, to the Holy Father, and to the diocesan bishop the priest must pray for orthodoxy.  Orthodoxy of faith requires God’s grace and for this grace a man must pray.  The ability to think and feel with the Church (sentire cum ecclesia) is a gift from God for which sons of the Church must beg and hope to receive.  Over twenty-five years of religious life and fifteen years of priesthood have led me to see that such practices can connect one’s intellectual formation with personal, spiritual, and pastoral formation as well. 

Father Michael Sheeran, SJ

50 Years in the Priesthood

We believe in a God who is somewhat strange. Our God created a good but imperfect world, and then depended on humans to take that incomplete world and make it better. God truly depends on us to be His co-creators. Each of us has the same calling: to pay attention to the part of the world we find ourselves in and then take our part of the world further towards its potential. We are called to make our family and community more into the kind of place God intends it to be. 

Education, of course, is what equips each person to discover the talents and opportunities God gave them. Through my 64 years as a Jesuit (51 of them as a priest), I’ve constantly found meaning in my own life by working to help high school and university students discover how God depends on them to make His good world into the more perfect place He dreams it could be. 

The Angel stood before a fourteen-year-old girl and waited, hat-in-hand, while she decided whether she’d say “yes” to God’s invitation to mother His Son. I’ve often felt like that Angel as I stood in for God and invited young people to use their talents to make God’s world a better place. Again and again, the answer has been a “yes.” 

Being a Jesuit is a wonderful life, and I am grateful to all I have worked with, learned from, and been blessed by through all these years in the Society of Jesus. 

Father John Stacer, SJ

70 Years a Jesuit

Fr. John Stacer, SJMy mother and father supported my decision to become a Jesuit, but they didn’t expect that sending me to Grand Coteau, La., would be sending me away for such a long time. Over 70 years of service in the Society, I’ve never been assigned back to our Dallas institutions. I’ve always looked outward on the world that was bigger and more needy than my hometown.

When I joined the Jesuits at age 18, I had an open mind and an open heart. My teachers at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas chose not to prejudice my experience of novitiate by telling me what to expect. Instead, they let me do the novitiate on my own terms. For the first month I was under the watchful care of my “guardian angel,” Don Martin, SJ, who prayed me through the initiation to Jesuit life. I was also under the ever-gracious protection of God who dreamed big for me.

For theology studies, I went to Louvain, Belgium, where in the summers they put us to work wielding brick and cement to build houses for refugees from Soviet-occupied East Germany. The work was physically tiring, and it made me glad to get back to the “easy” life of study. Though I couldn’t travel to the States for ordination in August of 1963, my parents made the trip over to Belgium to join me on that happy day. We spent a week together expanding our world view in Belgium and Ireland.

I taught a year at Loyola University New Orleans before tertianship, then returned to live at Loyola while completing my doctorate at nearby Tulane University. I settled in to teaching philosophy at Loyola and at Spring Hill College, when God started dreaming big for me again. In the 1980s, the Lord inspired me to move out of my comfort zone. I applied to the new philosophy program at a Jesuit university at Harare, Zimbabwe. For 30 years I worked with young Jesuits, preparing them for their own ministry and their own part of the universal church. These long days were the apogee of my service; there was SO much to do. God was SO present. The people of God needed SO much and taught me so much. I was happiest each August, driving a van load of newly vowed Jesuit scholastics from Lusaka, Zambia to Harare to introduce them to philosophy studies. So much life! So much enthusiasm! So little time!

I am very grateful to God the big dreamer, to my friends and family who have joined this grand adventure via letters, emails and pictures. They have allowed me to be open to go wherever God calls and delighted with me in the pleasures of service for his people. When I would return and see them in Pennsylvania or in Southeast Texas, they also made room for Uncle Johnny and his dashiki and stories at the dinner table.

I am grateful, too, to the five Jesuit provincials of the New Orleans and UCS Provinces, because they let me stay in such a wonderful place for so long. To the novices who continue to listen deeply for God and God’s will for them at Grand Coteau, all I can say is “persevere!” I’m so happy that I persevered these many years. You, too, may find after decades of walking and praying with Jesuits around the world, that there is a place for you right back here when you’re 88 or 98 years old.

Father James Swetnam, SJ

75 Years a Jesuit

Fr. Jim SwetnamDivine Providence and I began writing the story of my life with the help of two loving parents and two loving sisters. A Catholic grade school, Holy Redeemer in Webster Groves, Mo., and St. Louis University High School, together with my family, prepared me for a life focused on the Mass (March 18, 1928 – August 8, 1945). Then followed two years of Jesuit novitiate and two years of classical language study at Florissant, Mo., three years of philosophy at Saint Louis University, three years of teaching at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver and four years of theology at St. Marys College in St. Marys, Kansas. Then came the third year of novitiate (called “tertianship”) in Sankt Andä-im-Lavanttal in Austria.

Next, I was assigned to the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome for fifty years, from 1960-2010, spending the first two years as a student in the faculty of Sacred Scripture. I also was an editor of some of the Institute’s publications. In 1963, I became a teacher of the basics of New Testament Greek. I taught that subject until 2003. I taught about 1500 students from 85 countries. This was punctuated by three years for a doctorate in New Testament at the University of Oxford. Then, upon retirement from teaching, I served as the first director of the alumni association at the Institute, which now has members in 45 countries.

Today I am back in the U.S.— teaching, giving retreats and residing part-time at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. My current website, “James Swetnam’s Thoughts on Scripture,” is centered on the Mass and Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist.

Father Joseph Tetlow, SJ

60 Years in the Priesthood

Fr. Joe Tetlow, SJSixty years of priesthood in brief paragraphs usually means a list. So: In these years I taught in the old Juniorate at Grand Coteau La., completed a doctorate at Brown University and was dean of the college at Loyola University New Orleans. Then, I was founding executive secretary of the U.S. Jesuit Conference, a not-so-good president of Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, editor at America magazine in New York, tertian director in Austin and professor at Saint Louis University. After that, I was assistant to Fr. General for Ignatian Spirituality in Rome, and did workshops in Spain, Taiwan, India, Ireland, Lithuania, Zimbabwe and elsewhere. I also served as director of Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, Texas. Finally, I launched the New Emmaus program at Our Lady of the Oaks back in Grand Coteau, and am now at Montserrat again, writing this and the last books I will get to write.

But what really went on all these years, weaving through ministries and places and provinces, was much quieter and hidden: the Spirit’s work. I had prayed as a novice: “This I ask of the Lord, this alone do I seek — to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” And God said, “Granted,” and it has been.

For a while He was purifying me of egregious egotisms (it often hurt) and putting me where even my flaws might help, which was humiliating. He surrounded me with faithful friends in Christ —Jay and lay, the true core of my life. This is God’s glory: that men like me are Christ’s — His, Ours — the company of Jesus. My glory is that God accepted what I could give. To my Lord, I give the hours of my life and the use of my death. Amen.

Father Edward Vacek, SJ

60 Years a Jesuit

Fr. Edward Vacek, SJ

When I entered the Society of Jesus in 1960, I self-protectively told people that I likely would come back home in a month or so.  Sixty-two years later, I am not only still a Jesuit, but I am enormously thankful to God for this vocation.  I am constantly grateful to all of you who have supported, encouraged, corrected, taught and prayed with me. 

My journey, I like to tell people, began with a $25 dollar scholarship to Creighton Prep.  I did not know a Jesuit from a Franciscan or even from a Zen Buddhist, the latter being a course I taught one year on a lark.  With some pain, I remember periods where God had to rescue me from dark doubts.  God sent a Mercy sister, later an Oblate teacher and later still a Jesuit minister: each threw me a lifeline to keep me afloat. 

I entered the Jesuits not so much because I wanted to be a priest, but because I wanted to help people. My ordination in 1973 gave me a sacred opening into the inner lives of so many people, young and old. 

I switched from philosophy to theology because the Church and world were going through such challenging times after Vatican II.  For the next 30 years, in Boston, I had the privilege of reforming Christian Ethics and of teaching women and men who, as future ministers, wanted to make a difference. 

During the past decade, I’ve become a “Southerner,” living in New Orleans.  I work with two very different kinds of students: some who have weak educational backgrounds and need to restart their schooling and some who are as bright as the Harvard students I used to teach. 

Now, at age 80, blessed by so many people, I await my next adventure in walking with God into our future. 

Father Robert White, SJ

70 Years a Jesuit

Fr. Robert White, SJI have often said that if one wants a life that gives hopes and aspirations to many, nothing compares to a combination of a priest, teacher and Jesuit. When I first walked into the classroom of the old Holy Rosary Mission in 1956 and stood before a classroom of 15-16-year-old Lakota boys – Birgil Kills Straight, Joe Brings Plenty and Johnny Her Many Horses, etc. – I asked myself how to inspire them to transform their world of defeat and poverty. I was not surprised when 25-30 years later Birgil Kills Straight became a national leader of the Native American community.

Now 70 years after getting the cassock in the novitiate at Florissant, Mo., I look back at the parade of former student leaders in the Church’s media – six or seven bishops, university professors and some in top positions in the U.N. I can only thank God and my fellow Jesuits for this flow of God’s graces.