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James Blumeyer, SJ

60 Years a Priest
Retreat and Spiritual Director

Father James Blumeyer, SJ, is a retreat and spiritual director at White House Jesuit Retreat house in St. Louis. This year, he celebrates six decades in the priesthood.

Father Blumeyer began his active ministry in 1954, as the pastoral minister for St. Stephen’s Mission in Wyoming. After studying philosophy at Saint Louis University, he taught Latin at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver.

From 1967 to 1980, Fr. Blumeyer was active in campus ministry and administration at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. He served as assistant dean, dean, consultor and vice president during his first assignment there. He later returned to Rockhurst in 1986 as its coordinator of mission and ministry after spending five years as an assistant for formation of the former Missouri Province.

After five more years at Rockhurst, Fr. Blumeyer became assistant to the president for mission and ministry at Saint Louis University. During this time, he also served as rector at the Jesuit Hall community.

He then went back to Kansas City as director of the Ignatian Spirituality Center from 2001 to 2006, and as assistant director from 2006 to 2015.

Father Blumeyer earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and classics, a master’s in education, a bachelor’s in sacred theology and a doctorate in education – all from Saint Louis University.

Father Blumeyer’s Reflection on 60 Years as a Priest

The Lord has given me a long life and very good health most of the time. As a result, I’ve had opportunities to serve in various Jesuit endeavors.  A major trend in all of these has been a significant decrease in the number of Jesuits involved in each work with a corresponding increase in the number of our lay colleagues.

In the 1950s, when I began teaching at Regis Jesuit High School in Denver, about three-quarters of the faculty were Jesuits and the others were laypersons. A few years ago, when I worked at the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Kansas City, I was the only full-time Jesuit on the staff. Two other Jesuits were working part-time but the remaining 35 or so people working with the Spirituality Center were laypersons.

I note this because a great blessing of my Jesuit ministry has been the inspiring and remarkable people – Jesuits and lay colleagues – with whom I’ve associated and been privileged to work with and stand for.

This blessing continues even now in what may be my final active ministry. I now assist on a part-time basis at the White House Retreat Center. Every week, retreatants take me into the mystery of how God is or has been a part of their lives. Moreover, many of the retreatants often do not appreciate how the Lord has been with them, calling them, leading them to a more intimate relationship.  Many also do not appreciate the role they have played and are fulfilling in helping the important people in their lives live and pursue the lifestyle of the Beatitudes. For me, it is an enriching experience and a great privilege to be able to assist them in seeing and appreciating how the Lord has been working with and through them.

The flip side of this in is that assisting someone to see the workings of God in the challenges and blessings of their lives often opens me up to what the Lord has done and is now doing for me. I’m able to assist some people because of my own experiences, challenges and failures of my own. In sharing my experiences with them, and vice versa, the retreatants provide me with similar assistance and appreciation of the workings of the Holy Spirit in my life as a priest.

– Fr. James Blumeyer, SJ