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Claude Pavur, SJ

50 Years a Jesuit
Associate Editor, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies

Father Claude Pavur, SJ, is an associate editor at the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. This year marks his Golden Jubilee as a Jesuit.

Prior to beginning his current assignment in 2013, Fr. Pavur’s ministry was devoted to teaching the classics and philosophy at Jesuit universities, including Loyola University New Orleans (1990 – 1994), Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama (1994 – 1995) and Saint Louis University (1995 – 2012). During his time at Saint Louis University, he was also named the Edmund F. Miller, SJ, Chair in Classical Studies at John Carroll University in Ohio.

Prior to his ministry in colleges, Fr. Pavur served the former New Orleans Province as formation consultant.

A graduate of Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Fr. Pavur earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and Master of Divinity from Regis College in Toronto, Ontario, a Master of Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., and a Ph.D. in philosophy and classical humanities at Emory University.

Father Pavur’s Reflection on 50 Years as a Jesuit

Even in grammar school I prayed fretfully to know my true vocation. In my first years in the Society, when I was in my early 20s, I confided to my closest friend that I felt that the path to apostolic maturity would be a very long one. “Maybe when I am in my 60s …” Now having just closed out the seventh decade of my life I can say, without any claim to plenitude, that in some mysterious way that early premonition seems to have come true. It was in my 60s that I finally found myself doing what seemed the special work that God had in mind for me. I experienced a happy productivity that I had never known until then. All the intervening years were a slow and labored ascent. They had their own graces and so many humbling learning experiences. These were certainly vital for me. Yet I often still felt like an arrow hidden in God’s quiver. But his plan was unfolding all the while. Now I know that one of the greatest possible satisfactions one can hope for comes with living what you were meant to be. Nothing tastes quite right till you get there. You will know it when it happens. So I say to the brethren, “Have patience, take the long view; wait on the Lord, and watch for him. Remember: ‘disciple’ means ‘learner, scholar, pupil.’”

For some reason, God gave me an abiding interest in the Latin language, very much against the tastes and directions of the times. Even after “shelving” it for a long while, I returned to it, against all odds; and now I can tap more deeply into the inspired sources of the Society’s Institute and rediscover its great vision and charisms.

I face our age’s confusion knowing that the best preparation for the future comes with learning well from the past. Contemplate the Lord laboring to save us over the passage of time. It may take a long while to refocus ourselves. Who knows but that in God’s own time and according to his own unfolding plan, he will make for us a new Ignatius, Xavier, Favre, Bellarmine, and Acquaviva—and greater than these? He will show us our way.

We must wait on the Lord as servants and watch for him – note passively, but expectantly, intelligently, searchingly, perseveringly. I invoke Romans 12, especially its second verse: Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Thank you, Lord, for my good and loving family; for the St. Joseph sisters and colleagues who taught my most impressionable self; for the Society and its earthen vessels; for its kind, patient, and loving benefactors. “Lead us in thy truth and teach us, for thou art the God of our salvation; on thee do we wait all the day.”